There are some players who, when we talk about them, we are always talking about what they do. He’s a great rebounder. He makes shots. He’s a great finisher on the break. He guards four positions. They are the producers. They get things done, and those are the guys you can win with. Every time we talk about them we are saying “he does” this.
There are other players who, when we talk about them, we are always talking about what they can do. Not what they actually do, but what they can do. He can really run the floor. I like that he can make a shot. He can play above the rim. We don’t refer to what they actually do, but what they are capable of doing. These are the potential guys, and they are tough to win with.
When we use the word “can” a lot with a player, I’m afraid he’s not good enough. We are excited about his potential, and he fits the mold of a guy who has “what we can’t teach.” But if we are constantly talking about what he can do, and not what he does, we probably aren’t getting much out of him.
Be careful of the guys who you use the word “can” with. If you keep describing what they are capable of doing, they probably aren’t doing enough for you.