Who put out the hardest workout mixtape of the summer in the NBA? These are our favorites.
The NBA offseason workout video has become a ubiquitous part of basketball’s summer culture. If a player dunks in a dark gym and no one is around to put it on Instagram, did it ever really happen?
Damian Lillard chided his peers with a brilliant spoof last year, but it hasn’t stopped the workout video movement from continuing. NBA players covered every angle this summer: we got big men shooting threes, players working out with their dads, players working out with their kids, stars competing against each other in five-on-five, Dwight Howard competing against nobody, and one of the best young players in the world doing drills while catching a racquetball.
At this point, nothing surprises us. These are our favorite NBA workout videos of summer 2K19.
Karl-Anthony Towns has the most obstacle-heavy mixtape
KAT’s workout is tough. (via _zachleach/Instagram) pic.twitter.com/9eEPBK6A9g
— House of Highlights (@HoHighlights) August 3, 2019
The next time someone throws a racquetball at Towns as he dribbles coast-to-coast for a dunk, he is going to be prepared. It’s a new era in Minnesota, people!
This is my favorite genre of the NBA summer workout mixtape: the one that combines basketball with obstacles. It is exactly what Lillard was parodying last year, though it’s also easy to see how these drills could help help a player’s hand-eye coordination, focus, and balance. Towns is already one of the most complete offensive big men in the league at 23 years old, a 7-footer who nearly put up 50/40/90 shooting splits last year. Hopefully the racquetball drills help his defense, too.
Zach LaVine has the most father-friendly mixtape
Zach LaVine’s dad is making him work. #Bulls pic.twitter.com/de6cSc9aH9
— Bulls Nation (@BullsNationCP) June 4, 2019
“Get your ass in shape. Stop f*cking around.”
These are the delightful words of wisdom from LaVine’s father as he puts his son through a resistance ban workout in the sand that seems to target LaVine’s finishing ability as he gets tired late in games. Smart thinking, because LaVine was putting up massive usage rate numbers for the Bulls in crunch time last year.
There’s also a video of LaVine splashing threes and dunking from a pickup run earlier this summer if that’s more your style. We’re partial to seeing a dad still helping his son long after he’s grown up and turned himself into a bonafide NBA scorer.
Ben Simmons has the most implausible shooting performance
My La runs player spotlight @BenSimmons25 @swishcultures_ pic.twitter.com/wbvCsY7nVn
— Chris Johnson Hoops (@ChrisJHoops) July 23, 2019
Simmons has never made a three in his NBA career, a stat all Philadelphia fans are deeply aware of. Fear not, #lickface nation: Simmons can shoot now, at least according to this workout video.
That first pull-up three looked flawless, didn’t it? And that fadeaway? Smooth. Even the pull-up jumper from about 18-feet in the third clip would be an enormous addition to Simmons’ offensive arsenal. You have to love that nasty double-pump reverse dunk, too. I agree with Jackson Frank of Liberty Ballers that it’s likely unlikely Simmons ever becomes a competent shooter, but that’s part of what makes summer workout videos so much fun. Simmons has been in a few of these if you want more looks at that jumper.
James Harden created the best new move
View this post on Instagram
For game. @jharden13 #knowyourbigpicture #familyforever #theblueprint
Harden warned us he was going to come up with a new move that would make y’all mad. He has now blessed us with a sneak preview of what he was working on: a turnaround, side-step, one-footed three. It’s beautiful and perfect and I can’t wait wait to see it in a real game.
The Rockets are going to be a very different team with Russell Westbrook in place of Chris Paul this year, with a lot more emphasis on transition scoring and potentially less isolations in stalled halfcourt sets. That all sounds great, but let’s hope we still get to see Harden work his magic against set defenses with moves like this one.
Carmelo Anthony and Lou Williams were the best parents
View this post on Instagram
This is so dope!!!! @blackops.basketball @harrington1313
If you can fight off feeling 100 years old while watching this, it’s so cool to see Anthony pass on his moves to his young son. Bronny James is already a household name as he enters his freshman year of high school. Maybe Kiyan Anthony will be one day, too. No one is going to have a better teacher.
Just as heartwarming: Williams, a standout for the Clippers, doing shooting drills with his daughter. Her jumper is already wetter than Simmons’. She obviously inherited her father’s ball handling ability, too.
Lou Will putting in work with his daughter. (via louwillville/Instagram) pic.twitter.com/4fAYXvC7Ok
— House of Highlights (@HoHighlights) September 5, 2019
Dwight Howard looked the best in an empty gym
Dwight Howard looking good in the gym! pic.twitter.com/1CmWWl2JRd
— ShowtimeForum (@ShowtimeForum) August 28, 2019
Howard has risen from rock bottom to join the Lakers once again, which might be the single most unbelievable storyline of another bonkers NBA summer. Howard reportedly beat out Joakim Noah and others for the job. Maybe the Lakers were really into empty gym workouts like this one.
Please, spare me the fire emojis here. The only thing separating this from the infamous Yi Jianlian workout is the absence of a chair. It would be a wonderful story if Howard could turn into a dependable player in his second stint in Los Angeles, but this video isn’t inspiring much confidence just yet.
D’Angelo Russell had the best Splash Brother audition
View this post on Instagram
(via @cbrickley603, @harrington1313)
The Warriors are down a Splash Brother this season because of Klay Thompson’s torn ACL. Russell would like to fill out an application for the open position. He looks damn good here.
Russell’s move to Golden State is one of the most fascinating of the summer. Playing next to Steph Curry should be an amazing opportunity. As long as his Lifetime Fitness range extends to the new Chase Center is San Francisco, the Warriors should be just fine.
Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony are the best tutors
D-Wade said he can’t stay out the gym
( @swishcultures_ @ChrisJHoops ) pic.twitter.com/4CQRZCWTyh
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) August 28, 2019
Wade is retired, but as he says in this video, he can’t stay out of the gym. Here he is giving Josh Hart instruction on how to look off the defense on a baseline push shot. It’s little things like this where Wade can be an invaluable mentor to younger players. The Pelicans appreciate the free lesson for Hart.
Anthony isn’t just instructing his son. Watch him give pointers to new Knicks forward Julius Randle, who signed a two-year deal with New York in the offseason. It’s great to see Anthony helping his former team even as he waits for an offer from an NBA team.
#NBA │ Julius Randle soaking up game from Melo (via @tylerrelph10/IG) pic.twitter.com/vsPQIeViJQ
— NOW Hoops (@NOW_Hoops) August 31, 2019
Lonzo Ball has most optimistic workout tape
View this post on Instagram
Lonzo Ball’s 1st day back on the court. (via @prosvision_, @paul_devia)
Ball has the most maligned shot in the NBA this side of Ben Simmons. He looks a lot more like the UCLA Lonzo who shot 41 percent from three than the NBA Lonzo who shot 41 percent on free throws last season in this video. The video almost says it’s Ball’s first day back on the court almost six months after being sidelined with a serious ankle injury.
This video also has my favorite Instagram comment: “Man spent all of his VC on tats”. That is an NBA 2K reference for the uninitiated. Lonzo’s ink has gotten a lot of publicity this summer.
Giannis Antetokounmpo had the best shooting instructor
Giannis Antetokounmpo working on his shot with Kyle Korver
(IG: BigSack42) pic.twitter.com/dNSNNjUdTt
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) July 23, 2019
If Giannis gets a jump shot is one of the most repeated phrases within the NBA discourse right now. The Bucks star is already arguably the best player in the world. Imagine if defenses had to respect his shooting range. We could be talking about GOAT territory.
Credit Antetokounmpo for putting the work in this summer. He he is with Kyle Korver working on his form. There is no better shooting coach to work with.
Anthony Davis had the most *eyes emoji* mixtape
Anthony Davis got handles like THAT (via @dribble2much) pic.twitter.com/cv1T8mSAld
— Overtime (@overtime) June 19, 2019
Davis got his wish with a trade to the Lakers and booked Space Jam 2 this summer. Then he spent the rest of the offseason reminding people he’s basically a guard in a big man’s body by doing some mesmerizing ball handling and shooting drills that were caught on video.
In case the guard training isn’t doing it for you, here’s Davis dunking with a weighted vest on. The Lakers need him at the peak of his abilities to realize their championship dreams this season. Davis looks ready.