NBA.com’s “Day in the Life” series tells the stories about the behind-the-scenes work of some unsung NBA staffers. The latest edition focused on Mike Weinar, the special assistant to Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle.
It’s an interesting Q&A in which Weinar, who started his basketball career while at Florida before being hired by Carlisle and the Mavericks in 2008, runs through his daily duties on game days, practice days, and travel days. It’s awesome to get an inside look at what happens at the AAC on a game day leading up to game time.
“We’ll finalize film work or play calls. Then we’ll have pregame workouts where we divide up the guys. At home, we’ll use the main court and the practice court,” Weinar says. “By 35 [minutes before tipoff] on the clock usually, coach will talk and then whoever prepped [for the specific opponent] that game will present the final film. After that, we’re tipping it up and seeing what happens.”
Weinar explains his responsibilities during the game. You can often catch him and Mike Shedd shouting out opponents’ play calls and describing the action of the coming play (mid-pick-and-roll, post-up, flare screen, and so on).
“During a game, if it’s my night [opponent], I’m very in tune to what the other team is running offensively,” Weinar says. “So if Dirk [Nowitzki] sees a play called by their head coach, he can relay it to me and I can let him know what’s coming on the court. Sometimes we’re surprised. Most teams have their base package that we’re familiar with. But these guys are head coaches for a reason, so coming out of timeouts, you have to be prepared for about anything. The way we see it, if we can give our players a cheat sheet without requiring them to download the entire playbook, we’ve done our jobs.”