This week, we’ve been tracking the progress of injured basketball player Gaafar ElSouri on his road to recovery following career-threatening knee surgery.
Twelve months ago the Sudanese athlete found himself on the treatment table after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). What followed were months and months of recovery to get back into peak condition.
Not only did the injury rob ElSouri of his favourite sport, he also had to deal with the mental battle of getting back to full fitness. Before his injury his basketball career saw him play all around the world, in Europe, Southeast Asia and Canada. Keen to get back on the court, he set about rebuilding his fitness with a set of tailor-made exercise routines he put together himself.
Today’s video shows examples of plyometric exercises, which are compound movements that aim to generate maximum force as quickly as possible. The exercises are beneficial for challenging fast-twitch muscle fibres, coordination, agility and strength and endurance. Exercises include single leg step ups – a unilateral leg exercise which aims to improve symmetry and balance. It also increases lower body strength and develops leg power. Front box jumps – this exercise develops explosive power by improving the reach of fast-twitch muscle fibres throughout the body. Double scissor jumps – a workout exercise used to enhance hamstring and hip strength, overall lower body strength to develop explosive power and body control. The video clip also includes jump squat med balls slams and split stance med ball throws. It’s a compound exercise used to enhance reaction speed and explosiveness along with power and agility.
Everyone hoping the Golden State Warriors dynasty breaks up this summer will likely have to wait a little longer, with the team and Kevin Durant appearing to be on the same page in regards to his immediate future.
After helping the Warriors repeat as champions with their third title in four years and winning Finals MVP in the process, Durant has been vocal about his desire to remain in Golden State.
Even though it will likely cost the franchise quite a bit of money to retain him, Warriors general manager Bob Myers expressed the orgranisation is prepared to give Durant “whatever he wants” in contract negotiations this summer.
“Sometimes you don’t negotiate. I’d love to have him for 10 years. Kevin Durant, look what he did for us last year. He did us a great service,” Myers said.
“He’s earned the right to sign whatever deal he wants. I just want him to sign a deal. But [I] want him to be happy and want him to know that we want him as long as he wants to be here. He’s earned that, to kind of lay out the terms.
“He can do whatever he wants. That shouldn’t be a long negotiation. Our goal, to be honest, is to try to keep the whole thing together, so that’s the pieces of the puzzle we’ve got to try to figure out.”
Bob Myers said his contract offer to Kevin Durant can start at max money and max years, but KD controls the negotiation: "Whatever he wants" pic.twitter.com/phkR6z62UP— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) June 11, 2018
Last year, Durant agreed to a discounted two-year, $51.25 million deal instead of inking a max contract so Golden State could keep Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston, while handing Stephen Curry the five-year max.
This summer, Durant could sign for as much as four years at around $160 million, which the Warriors are apparently more than happy to do to retain their championship core.
Golden State are slated to be in the luxury tax as it is, but signing Durant to the max would hamper their ability to fill out the rest of the roster even more.
The contracts of Nick Young, Zaza Pachulia, David West, JaVale McGee, Kevon Looney and Patrick McCaw will all come off the books, leaving the Warriors with plenty of decisions as to who to bring back and who to use their roster spots on.
If Durant opts for a max deal, his contract would align with Curry’s, running until 2022. Meanwhile, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green are scheduled to hit free agency in the summer of 2019 and 2020, respectively, meaning Golden State will have to either get creative, or foot a historic tax bill to keep their core four together.
That could open the door for at least one of the foursome to leave in the coming years in order to maximise their financial earnings, but it doesn’t seem like that will be the case with Durant this summer.
Watch basketball player Gaafar ElSouri on his road back to fitness
With the NBA season now over, attention has turned to the draft, which will inject the league with its next influx of stars – at least that’s the hope.
Prospects in the NBA draft, as compared to the drafts in the other three major American sports leagues (NFL, MLB, NHL), may have a greater chance of being impact players right away, but that doesn’t mean teams are any less susceptible to ending up with busts.
Teams weigh a number of factors before drafting players, including skillset, physical tools, intangibles and even age. Fit with the current roster can also come into play, but with how the game has trended towards position-less basketball in recent years, teams are likely to take the best player on their board and figure the rest out later.
This year’s class is led by an uber-talented big man group, with DeAndre Ayton, Jaren Jackson Jr, Marvin Bagley and Mohamed Bamba all appearing to be on the radar for the top five picks in the draft, which takes place on June 21.
Arizona’s Ayton is considered by many to be the top prospect overall and a generational centre who can change the trajectory of a franchise. In his lone college season, the 19-year-old averaged 20.1 points, 11.6 rebounds and shot 61.2 per cent from the field, proving he has the offensive chops to be a force at the next level, especially if his 3-point stroke continues to develop. The real question with Ayton is whether he can grow on the defensive end, where his awareness and rim protection left a lot to be desired at Arizona.
There’s very little concern when it comes to the defence of Jackson and Bamba, who combined their enormous length with great instincts to be elite rim protectors in college. While Jackson has the quickness to also hang on the perimeter and shot 39.6 per cent from 3 last year, Bamba still has to show he can develop into more than just a shot-blocker and rim-roller.
Bagley entered college with great prestige – and a year earlier than scheduled – but his season didn’t quite impress like other top prospects. He plays like a wing in a big man’s body, outside of his shooting touch which is lagging, but his defence was hit-and-miss.
All four big men expected to go near the top of the draft could end up being the best player, but they’ll also have to compete with Luka Doncic for that distinction.
A transcendent international prospect, Doncic is set to take his talents to the NBA after succeeding in the EuroLeague with Real Madrid since the age of 16.
His 6-foot-8 frame, combined with his guard-like skills, makes him intriguing in today’s game, while his versatility, polish and experience make him a candidate for the top overall pick.
Small-ball may be in vogue in the NBA, but size remains coveted, as this draft is set to prove.