There’s this little space in the NBA offseason that happens right around late July and early August where we’ve passed the draft, free agency, and Summer League, but aren’t quite to the preseason yet. It used to be a dead zone, a dried up reservoir where rivers of content once flowed. But then something beautiful happened. Carmelo wore a hoodie, players met up with other celebrities, people recorded it all on their phones, and from the ashes rose a new spectacle in the NBA calendar: Summer Workout Season. Here are some of the best so far.
Other than a few long heaves at the buzzer, Ben Simmons has attempted two 3-pointers so far in his NBA career. That’s fewer than Alonzo Mourning took in his first two seasons, so Sixers fans are probably very happy to see videos of Ben Simmons launching from range in pickup games. Honestly, more than him actually making those shots, they’re probably just relieved that Ben Simmons does, in fact, know that shooting a jump shot is something you are allowed to do when you play basketball.
Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kyle Korver
The numbers on Giannis’ 3-point shooting last season aren’t great at first glance—26% on just under 3 attempts per game—but that’s not the whole story. His efficiency noticeably improved throughout the season, peaking at 40% in the month of April. He even shot a respectable 33% in the playoffs. Bucks fans must be drooling and other fans reeling at seeing him work at it even more this offseason, especially under the tutelage of Kyle Korver. His shot still has that bizarre hitch but the release is getting quicker and smoother. Giannis has always used the summer to add a new feature to his game, and this time it might be a consistent 3-point shot. Should we hand him another MVP trophy now or wait until next July?
J. Cole is not in the NBA, but he was playing with NBA stars so it counts. The video’s first few seconds is definitely the most impressive—the rapper puts a defender on skates and pulls up from very deep—but the rest of the video shows that he’s no slouch on the court. Sure, the competition looks iffy at best, but at least he has some evidence that he’s playing basketball this summer, which is more than a certain overweight big man from Philly can say (Trust the Process, though, right?). Maybe James Dolan will sign him to the Knicks just to arrange a deal so his band “JD & the Straight Shot” can tour with J. Cole.
Jayson Tatum/Chris Paul/Bradley Beal
This video is 2 minutes of basketball wizardry, but also 2 minutes of what it would look like if a cement block tried to catch a squirrel. Calling it “1 on 1” is very generous to the “defenders.” While there’s not a whole lot to gather here other than getting to observe people who kind of look like they’re human do a bunch of things with a basketball that prove that they are definitely not human, it’s still super fun to watch. The only bad thing here might be that Jayson Tatum looks like he’s still in a fully committed relationship with the midrange—sorry Boston.