Yuta Watanabe: Five Strong Points of the “Hardworking Genius | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Yuta Watanabe: Five Strong Points of the “Hardworking Genius

A man who couldn't speak English and didn't get a pass has risen from undrafted to become an indispensable member of the NBA's star-studded team, the Brooklyn Nets.

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Basketball fans are watching a dream scene.

Yuta Watanabe (28) of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets is a lion among the stars, playing his signature tenacious defense and piling up 3-point shots in an upset win over the Charlotte Hornets on November 6. Ace Kevin Durant (34) said, “Yuta is the best.

He left the game on August 8 with a left ankle injury, but stressed that it was “just a sprain” and that he would return to the lineup as soon as possible. No time to stand still.

When he studied abroad at George Washington University in the US in ’14, Watanabe could not speak English and could not even ask for a pass. Still, he is a “hard-working genius” who has sweated it out on the court more than anyone else and won his place from undrafted. His 206cm height is not his only strength. He has “5 strong points” that are world-class.

1) “First two steps” when switching between offense and defense

Basketball analyst Chris Sasaki analyzes this as follows.

In basketball, whoever controls the transition between offense and defense wins the game. Watanabe’s ‘first two steps’ are very fast. That gives him more time to get involved in the game and more opportunities to shoot. I think he does this consciously.

(2) Overwhelming “athleticism

Watanabe runs anyway. He has been known to NBA fans for his athleticism since his days with the Toronto Raptors, his old team.

The only time he stops on the court is when he’s shooting 3-pointers. From the opposing team’s point of view, he is just a nasty player,” said sports journalist Kiyohiko Tsukamoto.

(3) High “basketball IQ

Watanabe receives fewer fouls than other players. This is evidence that he plays calmly and “with his head on his shoulders.

Any player can make mistakes, but Watanabe tries to minimize them to zero.

4) “Responsiveness” to win trust

For the time being, Watanabe is expected to play a “six-man” role, flexibly responding to any situation. Daisuke Sugiura, a sportswriter in the U.S., explains.

He can play a variety of positions and never shoots selfishly. I think that’s why his teammates trust him and love him.

5) “Obsession” with shooting

If you can’t shoot, you can’t stand on an NBA court. However, Watanabe’s 3-point shooting success rate this season has grown to 54.5%, which ranks 4th overall in the NBA.

When we interviewed him as a freshman in college, he said, ‘What I need is the ability to shoot. When I interviewed him as a freshman in college, he said, ‘What I need is shooting ability,’ and I can tell from his shooting success rate that he is still aware of that,” said Sugiura.

The “hard-working genius” has become a man needed by the world’s best teams.

Watanabe contributed to the come-from-behind victory in the game on November 6 (Japan time). After the game, Durant (right) exclaimed, “I’m glad he was there.

From the November 25, 2022 issue of FRIDAY

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