October 02, 2014




In 18 years of playing in the NBA, Kobe Bryant said he had never run more in practice than during head coach Byron Scott’s first day of training camp Sept. 30.


Bryant, who rested during the tail end of practice along with fellow 19-year veteran Steve Nash, stressed that Scott’s emphasis on conditioning goes hand-in-hand with his demand for stronger defense.


“Running and conditioning: That’s the biggest part,” Bryant said. “Everybody wants to play defense, but when you’re not in the condition to play defense you go back to your natural instinct, which is playing offense first. So today was a really, really big conditioning day.”


For Bryant, this stems from the relationship between different aspects of the game. He and Nash both claim that mental resilience can counter physical fatigue.


“Once you get tired, then it becomes a mental thing,” Nash said. “So guys were tired from the jump, I think, with the demands that were put on us. And that forces you to mentally stay with it.”


That initial exhaustion was due to Scott beginning the practice his Lakers coaching tenure with conditioning from the very start. However, he cut the first drill short after being impressed by his team’s physical shape enough to move on.


Following that opening series of conditioning, Scott had his players work on defense for most of the practice before ending with timed suicide sprints.


For rookie Julius Randle, the physical demand was the biggest difference between his first day of NBA practice and his college days at Kentucky.


“It’s tough, but the good thing is I put in the work since Aug. 15, something like that. So it made me prepared for it,” he said. “If you’re in shape then it’s gonna be tough, but you’re going to be able to get through it. But if not, it’s going to be misery.”


Scott, who was pleased with his team’s overall fitness, plans to continue emphasizing conditioning in practice, saying that it will pay off when the season tips off next month.


“We’re gonna lose some games this year,” he said, “but it’s not going to be because a team’s in better shape. We’re gonna lose that night because they were a better team that night, but not because they were in better shape and we ran out of gas in the fourth quarter.”

Category: Sports