Summer is coming to a close, and with it comes the end of MuscleWatch 2017.
What's MuscleWatch, you ask? It's how NBA.com's Lang Whitaker refers to the deluge of images and tweets and videos on social media of NBA players working out each offseason. You know those annoying posts by your Facebook "friend" who feels the need to let the humanoids and ham-and-eggers on their feed know every time they walk past a treadmill (#gymflow)? It's like that, but with actual, world-class, professional athletes instead.
The advent of Instagram/Facebook/Snapchat Stories has only made the problem worse - on some days, it feels almost as if working out with a shirt on is in violation of the NBA's collective bargaining agreement. Clearly, the league must have entered into some sort of an agreement to provide all 450+ players with a copy of the Charles Atlas workout program.
However, with Media Day less than a week away, the flood of MuscleWatch posts will slow to a trickle, many timelines will begin to go dark (Kevin Durant's secret Twitter/IG pages, notwithstanding), and all we'll be left with are state-issued posts from the teams themselves.
But fear not, true believers: The Philadelphia 76ers' social media mavens are as sharp as they come, and I'm certain that we'll be regaled with tales of supreme physical fitness before long. After all, if you've been following the Instagram account of Sixers' head of strength and conditioning / assistant coach Todd Wright, you already know that several members of the team have been putting in work this summer.
The 76ers' beautiful, new(ish) practice facility is a mere 12 months old, so this is the team's first full MuscleWatch outside of the not-so-friendly (and shared) confines of PCOM. Richaun Holmes and Justin Anderson have spent a good deal of the summer in Camden, and there is photographic evidence of the progress each has made.
I had a chance to see both of them up close at Brett Brown's Coaches Clinic two weeks ago, and the changes in their physiques are immediately apparent. That said, the most extreme makeover of Summer '17 belongs to one Jahlil Okafor, whose vegan diet has helped him shed about 20 pounds (evidence of Skinny Jah can be found here and here).
Markelle Fultz has been getting in on the act as well (in between trips to Chick-Fil-A). He reportedly gained 15 pounds of muscle over the past few months, and a pre-draft photo of Fultz shows that every day this offseason appears to have been arm day...
Markelle Fultz has been hitting the weights this summer! And some of you actually want the Celtics to trade their #1 pick. pic.twitter.com/2hO7azR4p4— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) May 26, 2017
Don't believe everything you hear out in these Twitter streets, though. Last year, there was an erroneous report that Ben Simmons went full Lenny Dykstra and gained 33 pounds between LSU and training camp with the Sixers. There's no need to spread fake news about Simmons' workouts, especially since video of him doing something called a "Raptor Loaded Transverse Plane Leap" is readily available.
NBA Media Day marks the unofficial end of the MuscleWatch season, and next week, you'll learn that one of the following things is true about your favorite NBA player:
- Every overweight player in the NBA lost at least 10 pounds this summer.
- Every player who needed to add mass gained at least 10 pounds (all of it muscle).
- Every player who was close to his ideal playing weight turned a significant amount of fat into muscle.
And, to be clear, just because a player gets swole during MuscleWatch doesn't necessarily translate to success on the court (see Williams, Michael-Carter). But being in shape is always a good thing, and it looks like several members of the Sixers have made the most of their offseason workouts.