Q&A with Isaac Yacob, Sacramento Kings Assistant Video Coordinator

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After growing up playing the game of basketball, Isaac Yacob switched paths when he arrived at college, when he became student manager for the men’s team. While still in school, Yacob also began work as a team attendant for the Los Angeles Lakers and their G-League team, South Bay Lakers.

After graduating, Yacob was offered a coaching association position with the Lakers where he started an internship, working as a video coordinator.

In 2019, when Yacob was brought onto the staff with the Sacramento Kings, he received the position of assistant video coordinator, assisting the Kings with several tasks.

What are your main tasks as an assistant video coordinator for the Sacramento Kings?

“I support the coaching staff and their video needs. I scout games for the opponents we are going to play or I’m prepping the film. I’ll watch five games of any opponent before we play them.

What I have learned from watching those five games, I have to teach the coaches in five minutes. You have to tell a story. What do they do, how do they score, and how can we stop that? What plays are they running, and what players are they running them for? How are other teams guarding them?”

How much of an impact does video have on the team’s game preparation and player development, and how does Sacramento Kings use video?

“It has a great amount of impact, because if you come into a game and you don’t know what’s coming against you, it will hit you by surprise. In the NBA we do a great job of scouting, and we have advanced scouts that will call out the opponent’s plays before they happen. Being prepared for everything will always give you the best chance to stop something.”

What are the main differences on college and the NBA when it comes to studying video?

“In college we played twice a week, so we always had a good amount of practice time in between games. We had a lot of long team film sessions, and it was more team related.

In the NBA, the team film sessions tend to be shorter, and we don’t have a lot of practice time, so a lot of things are taught through film, especially to the younger players. It is on a much more individual level, which we didn’t do too much in college.

NBA players are always going to say yes to watching game film because it’s an opportunity for them to get better.”

Do you see a difference in the players who watch a lot of game film and the ones who don’t?

“It is very, very apparent.

When I was with the Lakers, I was fortunate enough to work with Rajon Rondo, and he watched film like he was a coach. He watched full games and everything, and you can tell he’s one of the smartest players. He knew the plays like he was an advanced scout, but he is a player.”

Can you give a piece of advice to coaches who are looking to improve upon their preparation, what should they focus on when watching game footage?

“They should look at how other teams are guarding an action or a player that they’re watching film on. Be open-minded, don’t be one dimensional, be flexible and watch what other teams are doing.”

Can you give a piece of advice to a young player who wants to develop their game, what should they focus on when watching game footage?

“Men lie, women lie, film doesn’t.

Playing at live speed is obviously very different, but at the same time, by watching film you can amplify the mistakes you made and learn from them. You should try to avoid making the same mistake twice, that’s when you don’t progress.”

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