The psychology of pace

Players in the D-League want to be noticed.

In the game of getting called up to the NBA, how many points, rebounds and assists you get matters. So, you can forgive players for hurting their teams at time by being selfish, for instance by taking shots when they're not open.

The coach in Idaho has assuaged player fears by playing at an insanely high pace -- faster than any NBA team. The extra possessions inflate everybody's numbers, and seem to be working nicely as a trick to get players to pass the ball when they're covered.

By building in a way for players to get the stats they need, the team has been able to inspire a certain kind of selflessness. Which has helped winning. And, in fact, the team has stats showing that call-ups are much more common from D-League teams that win.

It's like a big circle of psychological tricks, one feeding into the next. Kind of beautiful.