You hear people talk about what is different in the NBA and the European leagues. The NBA has more and superior athletes. Rather than rely on that, the European leagues play a system more dependent on team play and fundamentals, plus bigs who can step away from the basket and score.
Former Utah Jazz player Andrei Kirilenko played for CSKA Moscow in his native Russia last year but is returning to the NBA now, to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
And he made an interesting observation about what is different to Utah’s Deseret News.
“I’m working a lot on my physical condition,” Kirilenko said. “It’s the most important thing in the NBA. My game is very energetic. As long as I’m in good shape, I’m running. That’s my game is running.”
In Europe there are more practices but fewer games and less of a travel grind. The NBA game is both more athletically demanding and more of a grind.
It’s interesting. I’ve heard the similar things from NBA players and even NHL players talking about the differences in minor and major leagues — conditioning, and a willingness to really push to get the most out of your body, is a part of the separation. There is talent, there is the IQ of the game, but conditioning is part.
And Kirilenko says he’ll be ready in Minnesota.