Countdown to the NBA Draft Lottery, question #9. T minus 4 days.

We're taking a serious detour while hopefully remaining tangentially germane to the draft.  I've been thinking about how to combine best practices, establishing expectations, achieving buy-in to team culture, and offseason conditioning.  There are a thousand cute and vomit-inducing truisms about how the brain is a muscle, too, and I'll take it one step further and suggest there's no reason an offseason workout routine can't include it.

The idea of watching film during offseason is hardly a novel concept.  But with the team so young, most of them entering just their first NBA recess, an opportunity exists to form a habit or two that can help our guys create the team culture we're hoping for.  And if it can be a bonding experience with newly drafted rookies, so much the better.

Keep reading after the jump.

Enjoying the playoffs reminds us all again of the absolute imperative of solid defense.  You can outscore opponents in the regular season, as for the playoffs...ask the Suns how that worked out.  You can point to a series after it's over, and talk about how the Mavericks' pick and roll chewed up the Lakers' vaunted defense like so much cotton candy, describe how Kobe and Co. adjusted, and how the Mavs never stopped grinding, eventually making the counter-adjustments necessary to get the ball to the unlikeliest of heroes in Peja Stojakovic.

But tell a young player to watch how the Mavericks attacked, how the Lakers responded initially, what schemes they came up with, how the Mavs countered, make them watch over and over again, and not only are those players learning about defense, they're having it hammered into them what the goal is and how to get there.  Protect the ball and get the Larry O'Brien Trophy one possession at a time.

Maybe have Flip appoint player-mentors for the draftees who play the same position, illuminating the ins and outs of how to move and think in the NBA, in pressure situations, when you can actually hit the pause button.  And speaking from personal experience, nothing sharpens your knowledge of a particular subject like teaching it to voracious students.

Sounds like a win/win to me, but there are plenty of places to get hung up, not least league rules about when draftees start participating in team activities.  We've seen what players can accomplish when they're truly dedicated, and if they're offering that kind of effort to each other, it may end up spawning one of the greatest franchise cultures the sport has ever seen...or not.

What are your thoughts?

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