On this episode of The Edge, we sit down with two NBA G League head coaches, Brian Adams of the Agua Caliente Clippers, and Sam Newman-Beck of the Iowa Wolves. We spoke about their relationship in the coaching world, and how Brian originally hired Sam to work with him on the Boston Celtics video staff. They took us behind the scenes during their NBA Championship run with the Celtics in 2008.

Podcast Highlights

1:55 – COVID G League shut down: Sam says “One thing I remember was if this was our last game, at least we got a win. So I was happy about that.”

4:27 – Staying in touch with players: Sam says “I talk to some of them about things they’re doing outside of basketball. Some of them want to invest, learn about investing.” Brian says “Even though it’s going to be tough for this period, with the training within COVID, you still have to have a little bit of urgency if you’re looking to accomplish things.”

6:40 – Brian Adam’s basketball journey: Brian says “I saw that a ton of people that didn’t have a lot of high level playing experience had started and come up through the video room.”

9:29 – Sam Newman-Beck’s basketball journey: Sam says “I really never intended to work in the NBA. I didn’t really know how to approach that in the first place.”

12:16 – Evolution of video analysis in the NBA: Brian says “It went from a video room of one to two people to I think the Clippers have up to four people in their video room, whether it’s interns, assistants.” Brian says “there were a lot of video guys who probably didn’t have much basketball experience. It was more technical. And then it shifted to guys who were kind of a combination of both.”

16:06 – Celtics NBA Championship runs: Sam says “I learned that coaching in the NBA half of it is about managing personalities and egos.” Brian says “Garnett, I mean he’s the highest of high levels of alpha male competitors. Ray (Allen) had a lot of philosophy in his game, so that was fun.”

21:12 – How to develop players in the G League: Sam says “I truly believe you can’t coach a guy unless you have a relationship.” Brian says “I would always hope that all of our guys could become stars in the NBA, but realistically the goal is to get them to do the little things that make them a glue guy in the NBA, because that’s going to be the ticket.”

25:24 – Typical game day for a video coordinator in the NBA: Brian says “You basically create a checklist and you’re just following it game by game and doing everything. And then you’re also catering to the individual coach and what he wants at the time.” Sam says “Generally you have to be a jack of all trades. So it’s breaking down your own film, breaking down opponents’ film, maybe it’s putting together analytical reports, maybe it’s putting together personnel reports.”

30:40 – Kevin Garnett during the end of his career: Sam says “Some of you guys may remember a guy by the name of Nikola Pekovic, he was a big guy for us, about 300 pounds, looked like a bad guy in a Bruce Willis movie or something. I mean, he was very intimidating and the first practice KG was cussing him out for not getting back on defense and it was probably the first time Pekovic had ever been cussed out in his life.”

35:42 – Thoughts on G League Select Team: Brian says “This just adds exposure. So whether it’s that select team or our team with more attention, more people scouting when you do play that team, obviously it heightens the scouting. So it provides more opportunities.”

38:27 – Transition from NBA to G League Head Coach: Brian says “The beauty of the G League is I’m doing it all under what Doc (Rivers) is going to do, and what the Clippers are going to run so that it can create a seamless transition between assignment players.” Sam says “You’re kind of mirroring in a sense what the big club does, but you’re allowed to kind of put your spin on it.”

44:52 – Biggest mentors for coaching in the G League: “Definitely Doc (Rivers), Doc’s been at the forefront because if you think about it, I’ve worked under him for so long.” Sam says “Like we don’t live in the real world, working in basketball. You know, and my wife does, so she has a good job in the business world.”

50:39 – Playing in the Santa Cruz Warriors arena: Brian says “So you’re sitting there trying to game plan and scheme, and you’re just getting pegged by Nerf balls. So it’s a pretty stressful environment.” Sam says “Santa Cruz is probably the best, probably one of the better environments in the G League. Because it’s a small gym, so it’s very easy to get full.”