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The Basketball Podcast

Jul 31, 2019

Mike Longabardi, NBA Defensive Concepts

Guest: Mike Longabardi, Two Time NBA champion and Long Time NBA Assistant Coach

In this week’s basketball coaching conversation, two time NBA champion and long time NBA assistant coach Mike Longabardi joins the podcast to discuss NBA coaching, with a focus on defensive philosophy, techniques and tactics. Coach Longabardi is currently an assistant coach for the Washington Wizards. He was previously an assistant coach  for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Houston Rockets, the Boston Celtics, and the Phoenix Suns, winning an NBA Finals championship with both the Celtics and Cavaliers.

Career Highlights

Won an NBA Championship with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016 and with the Boston Celtics in 2008

Worked with NBA All-Stars like LeBron James, Kevin Garnett, Kyrie Irving, and Paul Pierce

In each of his 7 seasons with Boston, the team was top 10 in DEF-RTG

Five Eastern Conference Championships (2008, 2010, 2016, 2017, and 2018)

Three Central Division Championship (2016, 2017, and 2018)

Five straight Atlantic Division Championships (2008-2012)

Has worked under Jeff Van Gundy, Tom Thibodeau, Steve Clifford, Doc Rivers, Jeff Hornacek, and Ty Lue



1:00 - Specifics relative to Scouting Reports

2:00 - His Process on Game Adjustments

3:30 - Importance of a Defensive Mindset

5:00 - Practicing Critical Defensive Moments in a Game

8:00 - Need of Aggressive Packages and Adjustments

9:00 - Incorporating  Defense and Skill in Player Development

11:00 - Reading the Situation and your team

13:00 - Veteran vs Rookie

15:30 - Knowing your Players

17:00 - Basing this System on the NBA

19:40 - Non-negotiable

22:00 - When Lay-up Happens

25:00 - His learnings on the Defensive Side

28:00 - Dribble Hand-off and Switch

30:00 - Not Switching

32:00 - Defending the Short Roll

35:00 - Let the Players Talk to the Practice

37:00 - Baseline Inbound

40:00 - Sideline Out of Bounds Thoughts on Defending

42:00 - Teaching On The Ball Defense

44:00 - What is practice looking like?

47:00 - Players Need Efficiency in Practice

48:30 - Intensified Preparation During Playoffs

51:30 - 2-3 Zone on Inbound Takeaways

57:00 - Best Practice Now For Closeouts

59:00 - Ability of his Players to Drive

1:00:00 - Actions or Playing Scout For Players

1:02:00 - Conclusion


Mike Longabardi’s Bio



Basketball Immersion