By: Ben Schumacher
He’s a defensive stopper on an up-and-coming team that has been bounced from the playoffs in eight straight seasons. He signed a $70 million deal over the summer, and he’s expected to be a key piece on a team that added arguably the league’s best center and is looking to dethrone Cleveland in the Eastern Conference. He is Atlanta guard Kent Bazemore, and he spent the offseason taking his game, his conditioning, and his mental toughness to another level.
“In addition to my regular basketball and weight training, cycling has been a huge part of my offseason training,” says Bazemore. “Cycling is a beast, and it’s low maintenance on the body. That’s something I’ve added to the repertoire in order to strengthen my legs and my heart. It’s a physical grind when you’re out there in the middle of nowhere, and the only service you have is on your little computer. And no music. Bugs flying by you. You got this huge hill, and you have to lock in. You put something on top of the hill that you want, and you keep your eyes on it and go get it. You can play those little games with yourself and really get better at it.”
Players can be as creative as they want with their training in the offseason, the effectiveness of these workouts ultimately will be determined when the ball is tipped and the action is live. Bazemore won’t know if all the offseason work paid off until April and May when he is undoubtedly guarding #23 from Cleveland, again, trying to get his team over the hill to contend for a championship.
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