A Look at a Hoops Summer Workout

Norman Powell

We had the chance to watch the team in one of its summer workouts Tuesday. The biggest takeaway was the emphasis on transition and tempo, and we have a rundown on how each player looked...

We were able to see about 50 minutes of Tuesday's summer workout -- the last time the team will officially work out together until late July when it takes up practice to prepare for its China trip.

The roster was limited due to a few injuries. Freshman Shabazz Muhammad is sitting out due to a high ankle sprain he suffered the first day of summer workouts; freshman Kyle Anderson is still recovering from his thumb surgery, which restricts him to just indlvidual drills, and junior center Anthony Stover is still recovering from shoulder surgery and unable to participate.

The main takeaway from the session was Coach Ben Howland's emphasis on transition. Almost the entire session was dedicated to it, and Howland and the players indicated that all of the summer workouts have emphasized it.

The sessions started off with the wings and guards running up the court individually and then pulling up for a jumper in transition, while the bigs worked on posting up individually in transition.

Then the coaches brought the two drills together, with the perimeter players working the ball up the court, utilizing a couple of screens in semi-transition to then find a big for an easy lay-up.

Observations, player by player:

Josh Smith looks slightly trimmer. He later told us he's lost 15 pounds. What was significant was that in 50 minutes of really running up and down the court he didn't look particularly winded.

Tyler Lamb looks like he's among the few in the best condition, his shot not changing as some other players did when they were fatigued.

Kyle Anderson is all of 6-8, and has filled out since we last saw him in person. As we said, he didn't look hindered by his thumb, but didn't participate in the 5-on-5.

Tony Parker is about 6-8 and has slimmed down some, but still appears to have a ways to go in terms of conditioning. In the 5-on-5 to end the practice, he disappeared a bit and, as you'd expect, looked like he had his hands full matching up physically against Smith. He did hit a face-up jumper straight away from the free-throw line.

Jordan Adams is about 6-4 and has definitely trimmed down, even though he still has a doughy body. In the drill running up the court to take a shot in transition, fatigue tended to change his shot mechanics, either falling away or shooting off-balance. He was better in the 5-on-5, when he found some open space to pull up and hit some mid-rangers.

Larry Drew had a couple of good moments, but looked a bit out of control at times.

Norman Powell has continued to improve his body. His shot looked about the same, but he looked like he was flourishing in the transition game. In the 5-on-5 he matched up defensively against Drew. He (and Howland) talked to us later about how Powell is going to have to probably defend opposing point guards this season.

David Wear looked slightly more muscular, and he and his brother Travis Wear appear to be in very good condition. They both hit a couple of jumpers and looked comfortable in the transition game.

We'll have interviews with Howland, Smith, Powell and Lamb coming up.

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