It probably shouldn’t come as a surprise, but Team Canada head coach Jay Triano is unabashedly stealing sets from the San Antonio Spurs offense. It makes perfect sense. The Spurs offense has the look and feel of the international game and Team Canada’s starting point guard Cory Joseph has played with the Spurs for the last four years.
“We are following (a Spurs style),” Triano said. “I think it’s been an offense that has been duplicated by many teams across the NBA. The Atlanta Hawks are doing it, the Utah Jazz are doing it and I think they are having a lot of success with it. I wanted my point guard (Joseph) to feel comfortable with the sets that he is running, be very familiar with it, so there is a little bit of a strategic reason as to why we are doing it as well. I want Cory to be as comfortable as possible with everything that we are doing.
“(Joseph) is our starting point guard. He’s the guy we are going to lean on to run this team. We expect him to be the floor general.”
Joseph learned a lot during his four seasons with the NBA Champion Spurs. From year one spent in the D-League when no one would talk to him, to starting 19 games during the 2014 championship season, to finding a bigger role last season while starting 14 times.
“Obviously being in San Antonio for four years helped me a lot,” Joseph said. “Playing behind All-Star point guard Tony Parker, I learned from great players, I learned from a great coach. It helped me a lot. I feel like I made great strides every year. I definitely take stuff from Tony’s game being there over the years learning stuff from him.”
He has also developed quite a bit by playing with Team Canada, from a minor role at the FIBA Americas in 2011 to a leadership position in 2013 at the same tournament. Last summer he was a force for Canada during a series of exhibition games in Europe. Joseph is not just comfortable with his role on Team Canada, he owns it.
“I’ve been leading the point guard here for a while, so I am comfortable with that position/ role, being an extension of the coach on the floor,” Joseph said.
Team Canada’s style hasn’t gone unnoticed by some of the recent additions to the roster either. Nik Stauskas noticed just how familiar some of those offense sets looked.
“A lot of the stuff that we are running or a lot of stuff we are trying to do is kind of Spurs-like, so (Joseph) fits right in to what we are trying to do,” Stauskas said.
So Team Canada is stealing from the Spurs. They probably had to get in line to do it.
While not every player Team Canada Head Coach Jay Triano would like to be there is available, this will be the best SMNT ever assembled. “We’ve got the most talent we’ve ever had in Canada in a gymnasium at one time, it’s great,” Triano said.