ANBL: NZ Breakers coach Dan Shamir admits 'differences' with players

New NZ Breakers head of basketball Dan Shamir has admitted there are "differences" between him and his players.

It comes after his side started the new ANBL season 0-2, following two straight defeats to the Sydney Kings.

Right from the outset, Shamir's appointment was different. Never before have they hired someone from the European leagues - and the different style has not gone down well with everyone.

Asked how his methodologies and principles have been received, Shamir paused and gave a very considered answer.

"I will start by saying, again I speak honestly with reporters and fans and the media, it's been a process," he told Newshub.

"I will not decline this - we are in the process, and there are differences."

But Shamir is well-aware that dealing with such differences come with the territory of being an elite-level coach. Their job is to bring players of different ages, cultures and nationalities together and get them to play a certain way. This is where Shamir's experienced some push-back.

"People don't accept something that I do, or I don't accept something other people do, and then we have to - and this is the process - correct it and find a way.

"We [have] had a lot of that."

And not just with his players as well. Shamir speculated this is possibly the reason why assistant coach Mike Fitchett left just a week before the season began. But because he didn't get a chance to speak to Fitchett before he left, he said he was only guessing.

Guard Jared Weeks in action for the NZ Breakers.
Guard Jared Weeks in action for the NZ Breakers. Photo credit: Photosport

Shamir's learnt under some big-time coaches. Ettore Messina, David Blatt and Rick Pitino, to name a few. He was Israel's coach of the year in 2018 and Kiwi big man Steven Adams had high praise for him after their NBAxNBL preseason match in Oklahoma City.

But all that doesn't necessarily mean he's guaranteed to be successful at the NZ Breakers.

A lack of understanding of Kiwi culture has meant New Zealand Football has endured a torrid time recently with foreign coaches. The Breakers will be hoping this is not another example of that.

"I am a guy who discusses this with my staff openly, and they tell me 'we're not used to that, and you have to do things a little bit different, and I say this is a non-negotiable for me'" Shamir said.

"Hopefully everything is [done] in a constructive way, and we'll grow, and we don't go in different directions."

At training, Shamir is vocal, asking players to lift their intensity even in the simplest of drills. 

On the surface, it looks like a coach who demands the highest of standards from his players. Considering what he's just said, maybe there's an air of frustration as well.

"For me, personally, it has been a challenging process."

A chaotic preseason has made that process more difficult. While The Kings have largely all been together since early August, the Breakers have had to deal with half of their squad being away with the Tall Blacks, injuries to key players, one of their import's withdrawing and a high volume of games and travel. Shamir is not using any of that as an excuse, but it does make it more difficult.

Guard Jarrad Weeks feels the team's starting to get to grips with what Shamir's trying to do.

"Obviously with our short preseason which was a bit of nightmare, we're coming together now, and the reads are coming," Weeks told Newshub.

"You can see in practice that the flows are there and what we're trying to get is coming along."

Shamir didn't believe in putting a timeframe on when he thinks things will happen but believes every game is an opportunity to develop.

That next opportunity is against the Illawarra Hawks on Thursday.