Tuesday , June 22 2021

How the injury of Victor Oladipo changed the East



The curtains were pulled out so that no one could peek into the Hab 925 sports hall 20 miles east of the Aracall Aral. Outside a handful of selected staff in the room, no one knew about this secret workout at the end of August.

It was the day Stephen Curry would train with Luca Doncic, perhaps the most inflated European outlook. There was no live stream in Instagram, there is no courage on the House of Highlights.

Donchec's agent, Bill Duffy, wanted to keep quiet. Only a small circle – perhaps a dozen people – were present, but hardly anyone outside of Pleasanton, California, had the idea that the two-time MVP would work with the Slovenian miracle. It was so quiet that even Maverik's owner Mark Kuban did not know about it.

"I just wanted him to be exposed to Steph's superiority," Duffy told NBCSports.com. "Not only Stef's skill, but also the appreciation of the work that enters it."

Curry had already scheduled a training run by his longtime coach Brandon Payne from Accelerate Basketball with the phenomenon Jalen Green, which could be the number one in the 2020 class. After a call from Duffy, Payne made plans to change slightly.

Luca will be in town for a day or two. Can you join Steph for a workout?

Of course, Paine said, but there was something Duffy thought Paine needed to know.

"Hey, you know, he never worked this way before," Duffy said on Payne's phone. – All this will be new to him. Be patient with him. "

As a teenager, Dončić has already dominated the pro-league in Europe, winning both the MVP Euroleague and the ACB MVP in 2018, but has never worked with a Curry Calibre player. He had filmed sessions with the filmed guru Mike Penberty, now with the Pelican in New Orleans. But nothing was quite like what he was going to experience.

In NBA circles, Kari's training is the legend. How else can one move from Davidson to the first unanimous MVP of the NBA?

So Donchic was trying to train Carrie, which was supposed to last for an hour. She went on three.

"Luca," says Paine now, after working with Dončić closely, "is a basketball scientist."

* * *

This is Friday afternoon in Fort Mill, South Carolina, in Payne's training room right in front of Charlotte's home town. Kerry's long-time coach crouched as the film began.

"It's huge," Paine says about Donchich, who Curry's dwarves on the screen. – Luca is a big dude. He's 6-8, easy. Big, big kid.

The third round of 2019 All-Star voted again and the big boy extended his lead over Curry as the second most popular player in the Western Conference (LeBron James is still the first). Dončić, the only rookie among the 40 best voters, got more voters than Kerry, Kevin Duran and Kirby Irving.

In the seven months since the Mavericks got out to take him to third place in the NBA in 2018, Doncic became a cult figure in the league rounds. His rookie funds like LeBron were 19.9 points, 5.3 assists, and 6.1 free kick attempts helped to prove his strength. Ringer's Hypnotic Hymn # HalleLuka just added to his aura.

In August, Payne saw some of this first-hand clues. He invited me to his movie theater to show me just before my flight to Los Angeles to start the Curry Underrated tour. He insisted I could see where Doncic had come for in only five months.

Payne has run every curry move using instruments such as strobe-light glasses, tennis balls, and FitLight training light bulbs. He even trained for Kerry's breathing. Some call it a basketball version of JK. Simpson's symbol from Whiplash.

Not my pace.

Duffy felt that Dončić would take advantage of seeing what life was on the mountain peak.

"I wanted to show him that somebody at this level could take instructions and be repaired," Duffy said. – Brandon is here, tell Stef, do this, do not do it, fix it. I think someone like Luke was like, "Woah – Steph is the top 2-3 players in basketball and there is someone who pushes him to be the best who can be?" To be exposed to this, it was special. "

In the film, Payne issues orders to dribble and launch Kari and Donchich. One dribbling, a side step 2. One dribbling, Escape 3, Getting back in the opposite direction! Lateral stage 2, mirror foot, escape 3. Lateral step 2, come back, one dribble, escape 3.

"These are really difficult concepts," says Payne. "When you are Stephen, these are difficult concepts. It was not a drill for BS. It was a real workout "I have-something-have-got-to-come-with-stephen." To be thrown into this and react as well as he did was impressive.

This particular training ended curry for three minutes. His shots were flawless, barely grazing the edge. Dončić, who was trying to keep the command and pace, took nine minutes and forty-eight seconds. (Dončić still teaches English, his fourth language.)

"That gives him a lot of information, that's hard," says Payne. – My terminology is deep. Words are not complicated. But when you start combining combinations, it's … hard. "

At one point during the training, Doncic is seen, dribbling to the court with two basketball balls, a standard training here in the United States. Doncic fights. Jalan Green and Curry are just for him. Donchich pulls his tongue and laughs at everything. He does that much when he lags behind. I accept this as a sign of Doncic's self-awareness and his love for the game.

Payne nods. "Stephen is like that.

Then Payne becomes serious again.

"Wait, come back," Payne says to his assistant. It scrolls and plays.

"Do you see Luka's closed lips, then you take out his tongue?" – Paine asked me.

Yes, he is a child who has fun. He is 19 years old.

"That's the first sign of neurological overload," Payne corrected me. – Like being too much for a player. He could not breathe because his mouth was closed.

He tells me to look at Curry – pay attention to his open mouth as he falls on the floor, like the grille of Ferrari's nose, cooling the engine.

"So," Payne explains, "these are the things I'm looking for."

Something I never thought about: how good would Doncic be when he learned how to breathe properly?

During this training, Donchic was clumsy. He had just taken a one-month break to recover from the devastating year in Europe, playing about 90 games. Duffy says, "We had to rest."

Payne estimates that Doncic has already lost 10 to 15 pounds this season, but the rookie of the year is still far from weak. The 218 kilograms, the conditioning of Doncic is a matter of riot. What people do not realize is how they use their weight as a weapon. Doncic forces you to think he can not move quickly with his size before he completes his opponent.

"Everyone is like, he has this step," says Payne. – Yes, he has a step, but do not look at how he slows them before this step. You fall asleep, your feet are dying, and then suddenly hit you with this real hard step. It is so easy for him because he is big and strong. His mechanics are also very good.

A week before currying, Doncić had spent time evaluating and training his biomechanics at the P3 Sports Science lab in Santa Barbara. They have found that its speed reduction capabilities – to a figurative transition from 60 to zero – are one of the best they have seen among hundreds of professional athletes. (Dončić visited P3 annually from the age of 15).

"He's a gamer," says Paine. "I've never seen anyone control the defender with a change of pace the way he does. He takes control of you. You do not control it. He controls you. It just has a touch and a feeling that you can not teach.

Beyond his physical attributes, Payne would not stop talking about Doncic's palpable enthusiasm for the game, and how he pushed him to Carrey's relentless blow. Dončić laughs several times during the exhausting workout, partly with awe of Curry's power and partly for the illumination of his own struggles.

By the end of the three o'clock, he hung with Kari's shot.

"Stephen works with me while Luca is playing basketball," says Payne. – Stephen goes to those tracks where he is not a man. I can not imagine what it would be like to be in this workout. It's almost like when Stephen touches the edge, we do not consider it a brand. "

After the first hour of continuous shooting and dribbling training, Dončić wanted more. Two hours later, Paine offered to finish the training. Dončić waved him away. More ▼. Three hours later they went up to get up.

"He smiles, laughs and has fun," says Payne. – I think he's just having fun. He felt questioned. Stephen did it. Now I want to beat him. "

Footage from August's workout is a study in contrasts. Curry is a 30-year robot with precision and efficiency. Dončić, on the other hand, looks like a 19-year-old lump of clay – really high-grade clay. And that's the scary part.

"His work is incredible, incredible," says Paine. – At the end of the games? This is amazing. But if you think about it, it is completely unrefined. Think how good it will be if you get these things.

* * *

Certainly, it's hard to watch Curry and Doncic playing basketball next to each other and not wanting to jump right into the time machine. Will Doncic look like this after a decade? Curry is a pattern of efficiency both in motion and in percentages. He has hardly missed the entire training and never lost control of the ball. However, Dončić is in the process of being developed. Pulling his foot out of here, some silent jump. But only after a few reps, Dončić will become a shockingly prominent feature, which is manifested during his first season in the league.

Dončić scored 74 points in the 76th minute of the clutching season this season, firing 51% in these near and late situations. After adjusting to the pace, Doncic scored 46.8 per 100 holdings in the clutch, which is the ninth highest percentage in the NBA. He once went to 11-0 to beat Houston Rockets, which led coach Maurice Rick Carlisle to tell ESPN: "It is quite clear he has a sense of momentum. He is not afraid.

Take, for example, a "3-2-1 Perfect" workout that Paine deliberately chose as one of the latest workouts to simulate fatigue at the end of the game. Make three shots in one row of five different locations around half. Then go back and make two in one row in the same five places in reverse order. Then finish with a perfect five for five in one place. The doctrine does not end until the player has made the five rights.

"Luca's carriage is lit right now," says Payne, watching Doncic's work through the training.

The film could have seen Payne, saying something to Doncic. What did he say?

"I just asked if he wanted to give up," Paine says. – He said no. Nine minutes is a long time to shoot and make a heavy dribble without stopping.

"Damn it was hard. It was very difficult now, when I look at it.

Doncic hit the five and smiles, just like he did in December, after he hit an impossible missile overboard 3 against Portland to send him overtime. This ability to perform fatigue and pressure has fueled Doncic throughout his season. When the moments are greatest when the legs are tired, he rises to the case, usually with a smile.

* * *

There is one point during the movie where Paine stops. He wants to make sure I pay attention. Curry pulls Doncic aside and begins training him, directing him to go and helping him understand the training.

"This is the first time I've seen Steven take the role of a mentor during a workout," Paine says. – This is the first time.

Curry does this in camps with youngsters, but never with a professional. Maybe Curry sees Doncic both.

Doncic digs NBA life and flourishes. When other top recruits like Deandre Ayton, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Trae Young saw their scoring capabilities, Doncic has increased the rate of use for each month by taking more and more points from Dallas. In October, he ranked 67th in the level of NBA.com tracking. But in January, his use ranks 15th in front of stars like Curry, Damian Lillard and Kauhe Leonard. Dončić is only a rookie by definition.

"He did it for that," Duffy says of Dončić. – I do not know what the ceiling is. Does Steph Curry set a ceiling on himself? Is Steve Nash? Kobe Bryant? Luke is defined in this echelon. "

The Cuban agrees that we only see the beginning.

"The best part of Luca, except how fun it is, is that he has many places where he can improve his game," Kuban says. – And it will work for all of them.

At the accelerator offices outside of Charlotte Payne he looks at his watch and sees he's late for the airport. He quickly shows me a spreadsheet that tracks all Doncic's pictures and links it to the exercises he did in August. Shoot Doncic in Escape Dribbles, Wing Curl 2s, Slide and Read, all listed. Each frame has a connection with both the video in the game and the video for the August practice.

"I can watch these things all day long," says Paine, while grabbing her bags. "There's a lot of meat on this bone, man. Many.


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