Is it basketball season yet?
Unfortunately, its not, but the grind doesn’t stop just because the lights and cameras are no longer on for NBA players. Working hard in the offseason is what separates good players from elite players. Working hard makes a rising star a consistent force to be reckoned with. Working hard makes that new kid on the block the future of the association.
What’s done in the dark comes to the light. Some hoopers have been training with former Louisville guard Chris Brickley. He knows all about hard work and commitment to his craft as he joined the Cardinals as a walk-on in 2008.
Business Insider’s Scott Davis once dove into what makes Brickley the “go-to-trainer” for NBA athletes. The biggest keys were that Brickley made connections in college that landed him a gig with the New York Knicks. From there, he wisely built a relationship with Carmelo Anthony to the point where he started training him. As a result, you go on Instagram and there’s hardly ever a day in which Brickley isn’t working out some basketball player.
Brickley has been busy this summer training the likes of many across the NBA. Some of the guys he has trained have been players we have gotten accustomed to, meaning we know what to expect from them during an 82-game season. For example, we know Aaron Gordon can ball, but its more about him staying healthy. CJ McCollum and Donovan Mitchell have been honing in on their craft as scorers. Wilson Chandler and J.R. Smith are three-point marksmen.
The point being made is that we know what to expect from those aforementioned players.
Here are some players that have benefitted the most from working with the NBA guru Brickley:
Knicks’ fans won’t be patient for too long with young Ntilikina after being drafted in the top 10 of last year’s NBA Draft. He only averaged 5.9 points per contest as he appeared unsure of himself at times on the court. You could attribute that to adjust to the speed of the NBA.
With Brickley, the French guard worked on his handles, scoring ability on all levels, and one-on-one game. The most important of the three is being able to beat the man in front of you to score because sometimes an offensive set won’t work.
Ntilikina’s bread-and-butter is on defense, but if he can bring his new skills on offense to an arena near you lookout.
At age 28 last season, Evans was defiant against Father Time as he found a way to turn back the clock and add a new element to his bullying style of play. The 2009-10 Rookie of the Year averaged 19.4 points with the Memphis Grizzlies, the most since he was a rookie. Also, he made a career-high 114 three-pointers.
So, what did Evans do this offseason to get better?
Well, he is getting better by focusing on being consistent with his three-point shot. He and Brickley worked on shooting off the dribble from deep as well. His new team, the Indiana Pacers, only hit nine threes per contest so his shooting will be key.
DLo is in a contract year this upcoming season so if that isn’t enough of a motivator then I don’t know what is for the talented guard. It’s also about being available more often than not as last season he missed 34 games nursing injuries.
Brickley and Russell worked on crucial skills for a combo guard to have. They worked on his handles, pick-and-roll action, getting downhill, and his shot from beyond the arc. The PnR game and deep shooting aspects of his training are significant because DLo has a tendency to make things harder for himself by trying to iso more often than not.
Its time for Russell to show there is proof in the pudding as a true building block for the Brooklyn Nets.
Isaiah Briscoe and Hamidou Diallo
How ironic is it that two former Kentucky guys worked out with a former Louisville guy in Brickley? That’s one for the books.
Briscoe and Diallo focused on their handles and outside touch as two young guards looking to make a splash in the league. Ironically, they both got deals this summer as Briscoe is heading to the Orlando Magic while Diallo signed with the Oklahoma City Thunder.