Another thing. "Absolutely critical--what he does with the first pass. He can't make the first pass until all four of his teammates are organized and in position. He has to wait. Unfortunately, his teammates aren't in position all the time. So how does he get them there? By waving. By eye contact."
These precepts run contrary to every instinct in Arroyo, his inclination to drive to the basket, to go at breakneck pace. It's so much easier to take matters into his own hands. The Jazz were asking him to adopt a more cerebral style. Chiesa calls it "the great tug of war" and would like to believe similar struggles are taking place in gyms across the nation, not just in the NBA, but at colleges, high schools and recreation centers. "At what point do players understand the fundamentals and take their individual games into a team game?" he asks. He sees this transformation as essential to basketball in America. "The process is painful," he says. "That's OK."
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday February 13, 2005 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 0 inches; 29 words Type of Material: Correction
All-Star game -- The article about professional basketball in today's Los Angeles Times Magazine says the NBA All-Star game will be today in Denver. The game is next Sunday.
The pressure on Arroyo to conform only increased when the team's best player, forward Andrei Kirilenko, was injured and the Jazz began to lose. Arroyo attempted to toe the company line--saying of the NBA, "too much one-on-one, too much 'myself' before 'team,' "--yet he kept hearing that other voice in his head. After practice one day, standing outside the locker room at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City, he said: "I'm trying to be patient, but flashy is good too. I'm trying to do both."
The last month or so, Sloan lost hope in his grand experiment. Arroyo was back on the bench. Late in January, the Jazz traded him to, of all teams, the Pistons.