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FINCH FINDS NUGGETS IN GOLDEN RISE
- Updated: January 12, 2017
Chris Finch has urged British basketball coaches to believe they can make it all the way from the BBL to the NBA by thinking outside the box.
The former Sheffield Sharks coach will be back on the sidelines in the UK tonight when the Denver Nuggets take on the Indiana Pacers at London’s 02 Arena (BT Sport 2), his first return to these shores since stepping down at the helm of Great Britain following the 2012 Olympics.
Now regarded as one of the NBA’s most sought after talents, Finch took a long road via Britain, Belgium and Germany to earn his initial NBA job with the Houston Rockets before joining the Nuggets last summer but the nature of the business means opportunities knock.
“You just can’t do it for the money,” he said. “I tell coaches all the time: it’s a very volatile business whether it’s wins and losses, or the European financial landscape. Teams may have money one year and be bankrupt the next. Who knows? It’s volatile and you have to understand that.”
Finch’s exit after London 2012 was quickly followed by British Basketball losing their UK Sport funding after the GB teams were not deemed as medal contenders at Rio 2016 and beyond. That, the 46-year-old insists, was a means to waste the investment that had see a rise up the rankings into the world’s top 20.
“It gained a lot of momentum ahead of London 2012,” he said. We realised the game was well-funded at that time. Maybe it was too much to ask for that level to remain at national team level.”
There’s a lot of pride in the accomplishments of Finch and his friend former rival Nick Nurse – now lead assistant with the Toronto Raptors – for making it so far up the coaching tree.
A BBL Coach of the Year in 1999 and winner of the league, Cup and Trophy (the latter during John Amaechi’s domestic cameo), he was forged in Sheffield even if he was spawned by Ohio.
These are worlds apart, here and there, so what is the biggest difference between Britain and the NBA”
“Apart from the salary and the private planes and the five-star hotels?” he laughs.
“The biggest difference is that the NBA is such a specialised business. Somehow, I’ve become an offensive specialist. Coaching in the BBL, you did everything. It was an unbelievable laboratory to become a coach because you had input in every aspect. I
“ had one part-time assistant so you had a learn how to prioritise what really matters for winning. It was unreal. In Denver, we could be prepared more than you could possibly imagine – with statistics or scouting or video . But sometimes that’s not what matters when it comes to getting a win.”