The difference between a good basketball player and a great one isn’t a huge gap. Sometimes, all it takes is one of these five things all great basketball players have in common to push them over the top.
Court Vision & Awareness
LeBron James is the type of one-of-kind player that comes around once every blue moon. While scoring 25 points per game and the ability to drive to the hoop at will is a large part of his game, what separates him from most other players is court awareness.
James, and other elite hoopsters, can see things before they happen, giving them a significant advantage on the court. Dishing the rock to wide-open teammates is a quality many fans overlook, especially when they obsess over scoring averages.
While it’s nice to have a player that works like a wind-up toy, simply cranking the key and letting them go their merry way, that mindset can create some problems. Coaching a player who doesn’t listen to advice or doesn’t respond to valid criticisms of their game can hurt their chances of becoming a great player and drag the team down with them.
There’s no denying that Michael Jordan is one of the greatest players. But would Jordan have had the same success if he didn’t listen and benefit from the tutelage of his Hall of Fame coaches? Dean Smith groomed Jordan at North Carolina to become a great basketball player, and Phil Jackson’s wisdom put on the finishing touches to give us one of the greatest athletes of our generation.
Playing basketball demands physical stamina, but it may take a larger toll on someone’s mental health. The all-time great players don’t crumble when they face adversity, nor do they let the thousands of people taunting them affect how they play.
Having the mental fortitude to block out distractions and play your game is easier said than done. It’s easy for players to let the outside noise seep into their minds, negatively impacting their abilities. But the best players fight through it and get better.
Determination To Get Better
You can teach some of these traits or at least guide the player in the right direction. However, one’s determination is in their DNA. Everyone knows the look of determination in a player’s eyes, showing no fear whatsoever.
Players like the late, great Kobe Bryant have a determination that pushes them to great heights. Many of Kobe’s teammates claimed he was a miserable teammate, but that speaks more to them than it does to him.
Ability To Learn From Failure
Finally, every great basketball player learns from past failures. Instead of grabbing the metaphorical ball and going home, they return better than ever. Will Jayson Tatum prove to be all he’s made out to be after playing horribly in this year’s NBA Finals? Or will he take his shortcomings as a lesson in humility and get better? It’s easy to hang your head in defeat, but it takes a remarkable talent to pick yourself up and give it your all next time.
If any player has even one of these five things all great basketball players have in common, you might see them help your favorite team win a championship sooner rather than later. To jump on picking next year’s NBA champion, use Pregame’s sports betting advice to find out which team is the best bet to take home the Larry O’Brien trophy in 2023. Your first $25 of our expert’s picks are on us—what do you have to lose?