We all know that when it comes to the upcoming NBA bubble, it is going to be a matter of survival of the fittest because of two things.
One, there’s still the threat of the coronavirus. And two, since the league has been halted last March, questions about conditioning and mental toughness are going to loom large.
Given these unusual circumstances, it sure makes winning it all a whole lot sweeter this time around. As we are approaching July 31st, expect the 22-team roster to go all out as they try to salvage the 2019/20 NBA season.
With SBOBET continuing to provide coverage of the world’s best basketball league with our latest NBA 2020 news, today, let us take a look at some of the notable players who have made headlines with their new physiques.
Young rookies ready to lead their teams in playoff push
This year’s rookie class has been impressive to say the least, especially with the impact that they’ve had in their respective squads.
Ja Morant and Zion Williamson have led their teams on the cusp of a postseason berth, and both the Grizzlies and the Pelicans have good NBA 2020 odds of making it after the eight regular season games in the Orlando bubble.
These two former AAU teammates didn’t let up despite the coronavirus-enforced hiatus, as both of them continued to work on their game in different ways.
Ja Morant reportedly added 12 pounds of muscle, while Zion Williamson looks to have lost some of his excess fat by looking leaner.
“Ask coach, he knows I don’t like relaxing at all. I am all 100 mph. I put on some weight during that time to get better and I love the grind,” detailed Ja Morant.
“He looks fully healthy and stronger than he was before, if that’s even possible,” said Williamson’s teammate in Lonzo Ball.
These two up-and-coming teams will meet on August 4, so basketball fans would need to mark this date on their calendars.
Mo muscle for Mo Bamba and Deandre Ayton
With the Magic and the Suns given a new lease of life in the bubble, they will do everything they can to shock the world by overtaking their rivals towards to a coveted playoff spot.
These two teams aren’t exactly the favourites to make it that far, so they will definitely need all the help they can get when the games start.
So upon hearing the news that Mo Bamba and Deandre Ayton have worked on their bodies during the hiatus, Orlando and Phoenix will have two capable bigs that can man the paint offencively and defencively.
“I feel as mobile as before, but it definitely took some extra work. As I’ve gotten used to it, it became a lot easier. Gaining 20-something pounds is no joke. But now, I just feel really good,” explained Bamba.
“He’s a gifted young man in that way. I wish I had that. He looks great and he’s done a really good job of taking care of himself. His body looks unbelievable,” said Suns coach Monty Williams regarding Deandre Ayton.
Mo Bamba is expected to play behind Nikola Vucevic for Orlando, and his athletic gifts will be a boon for the Steve Clifford-coached squad.
On the other hand, Deandre Ayton will be at the forefront alongside Devin Booker for the Suns’ offence.
Skinny Melo and Skinny Beard ready to roll
Other than the younger players that I’ve mentioned, some of the league’s notable veterans have been working relentlessly as well to improve their physiques.
James Harden and Carmelo Anthony lost weight during the break in order to save their knees from the long grind in the bubble.
Feeling lighter and faster will surely help these two players as they try to lead their respective teams for a deep playoff push.
For Harden, he has been criticised for years of not showing up when it counts, and most pundits agree that the accumulated wear and tear during the regular season is the culprit.
As for Anthony, the Blazers have apparently planned on making him a full-time small forward – a position that entails being quick on your feet.
“For me, I had that on the back of my min, once coach told me the position that I’d be switching back to the 3. I kind of challenged myself to get down to that weight where I will feel comfortable with playing the 3,” said Anthony.
“Y’all can call it what you want, but ‘beefy’ Harden was averaging 36 so I don’t even know what skinny Harden is going to do,” said Austin Rivers.
These two players will be key cogs for the Blazers and the Rockets. Although these two clubs occupy varying spots in the Western Conference standings, they still have to prove themselves worthy of a playoff spot in Orlando.
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