The time in between Media Day and the first preseason game is magical. Players, coaches and executives give their first interviews in months, optimism is high and nothing can possibly bring people down.
That’s especially true when it comes to the spin of offseason conditioning. Players don’t have their weight changed on their official NBA profiles, they just like to tell reporters that they heavier or lighter, depending on what best fits the narrative.
Spindle-thin Clint Capela? You can bet he packed on the muscle. He says he’s 10-12 pounds heavier — those on the scene confirm he looks thicker, but I didn’t see anyone bust out a scale.
Beverley had reported to camp roughly eight pounds lighter, but looking and feeling considerably more fit than just from dropping weight.
Beverley said he plans to drop roughly five more pounds to play at 192 pounds. He said he cut out most carbohydrates from his diet and has been eating lean chicken and fish. He had lost 16 pounds before last season, but wanted to be 10 pounds lighter than last season.
Not to be outdone, Sam Dekker, he of the cinderella NCAA tournament run and lost rookie season from back surgery, dropped arguably the most cliché line of any sports training camp.
“Right now, I’m feeling stronger every day, feeling better every day. I’m in the best shape of my life,” Dekker said. “It feels good to say that.”
It feels good to hear it, Sam. Those words are the sweet ambrosia of the cliché gods.
Lang Whitaker, formerly of SLAM Magazine and now of NBA.com, describes this phenomenon with the hashtag #MuscleWatch. We can’t evaluate players yet on how they fit on the court, what they’ve actually added to their game. The only way to truly spin the narrative in a positive way is to talk about your body.
Now, it’s quite possibly, if not probably, true that the Swiss Roll added 12 pounds of muscle, the Wolverine dropped 8 pounds and plans to drop another 10, and Sam Dekker is in the best shape of his life. None of that changes how amusing these clichés are to me.