I recently purchased a few books to read and of the six books, five were basketball related. So this week I thought I would share a few of my favorite books. Maybe you are headed out on a family road trip for a few days or need something to read while enjoying your newly made-over backyard. This list isn't a full list of all basketball books but they are a few of my personal favorites.
Take That for Data!: Chasing Perfection by Andy Glockner
A lot has developed since 2016 when this book was written but it explores the foundation of where the intense focus on analytics has risen from. Glockner looks at how teams are developing players and integrating individual analytics to help players maximize their skills. He includes a look at companies that were developing software to analyze on court data along with the health of players.
Zen Basketball: Sacred Hoops by Phil Jackson
Everyone knows the Zen master and a little bit about his affinity for interweaving different religious philosophies into his practices in order to get his players in a good state of mind. But you might not know how Jackson originally reached his familiarity with these practices. His book crosses the nation from North Dakota to New York City to Albany to Puerto Rico and ends in Chicago. He shares what he learned under Red Holzman and Bill Fitch and ultimately how he became known as the Zen Master of the NBA. It's an easy read but one that you can read multiple times and pick up something new every time you open it's pages.
Research Triangle Hoops: The Legends Club by John Feinstein
In March of 1980 Mike Krzyzewski became the head coach at Duke at the age of 33 and Jim Valvano became the head coach at North Carolina State at the age of 34. In 1982 Dean Smith won his first of two NCAA championships at North Carolina. In 1983 NC State won Valvano's only National Championship. And soon after Duke we begin it's rise to the top of the college basketball world. This all happened within about 40 miles of each other. Feinstein chronicles the long rise of Smith and the meteoric rise of Valvano to the top. Along with the early struggles of Coach K until he breakthrough in 1992. It's a great look at the dynamic between the 3 coaches with tons of great stories throughout.
An Encyclopedia: The Book of Basketball by Bill Simmons
At 752 pages it's by no means a quick read but you could pick and choose what you wanted to focus on if you had to split up your time reading it. It has a chapter on the top "What If" questions about the NBA, a chapter highlighting MVP awards from over the years and how legit they were, and a chapter about Russell and Wilt. The bulk of the book is devoted to six chapters on what Simmons describes as his Hall of Fame Pyramid and he breaks it down to 5 levels. Overall it's pretty in depth and full of Bill Simmons humor and with in regard to the history of the NBA and the present place it's in.
Currently Reading: :07 Seconds or Less by Jack McCallum
I've enjoyed it for the most part. McCallum also wrote The Dream Team, which I really enjoyed, so I though I would check this one out. It's one that you also hear mentioned a lot. While I though it would cover the entire 20005-06 season of the Phoenix Suns, it mainly revolves around the playoffs. There are previous stories interjected and a background pieces interwoven throughout. For me, it does get a little too detailed with everything going on in the day to day and I was hoping for more of a bigger picture approach to the season.