Georges Niang Details New NBA Workout At Practice Facilities
May 15, 2020, 6:12 PM | Updated: 6:13 pm
(Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The NBA is slowing allowing players back into practice facilities. By Monday, the league hopes to have 22 of the 30 teams welcoming players back to the floor. However, due to the coronavirus outbreak, the workouts look significantly different than it would during the season. Utah Jazz forward Georges Niang detailed what the new NBA workout looks like now that the Jazz have reopened their doors.
“There’s a protocol we have to follow that everyone has to follow,” Niang said. “The practice facility–the way I looked at it before was kind of a safe haven. You could act the way you wanted to, you could talk the way you wanted to. It’s just a place where you could be carefree and be yourself. Nobody was really watching and cameras weren’t really on you.”
The NBA has a strict set of rules that teams must follow to have their facilities open. The league only allows four players in the facility at one time. Furthermore, players can’t share one basket, while head coaches, top assistants, and front office members cannot aid in the workouts.
The @UtahJazz announced that a handful of players participated in voluntary, individual workouts at the Zions Bank Basketball Campus in accordance with the Utah Department of Health and NBA regulations.
— Ben Anderson (@BensHoops) May 11, 2020
“It’s tough now, you don’t feel as safe,” Niang said about the facilities. “You’re looking across at your trainer who is wearing a mask and gloves and you have a mask on and you’re constantly having to sanitize and do different things. It was tough the first day because it’s like, this isn’t what I’m used to.”
Though Niang wouldn’t divulge who has joined him in the gym, he was willing to discuss the staff on sight.
“I was in there, our training staff was in there,” Niang shared. “I had someone that was helping me rebound, I know guys are eager and excited to get back to the facility.”
Returning To The Court
Maintaining a healthy environment is one of the main challenges teams face with players returning. It’s a challenge Vice President of Basketball Operations Dennis Lindsey said was a top priority for the team.
“We want to make sure the facility meets all of the league’s specifications,” Lindsey said.
Additionally, Lindsey said the team would be happy to see its players return to the floor.
“I think that we’re excited about the opportunities to bring our players back here safely,” Lindsey said. “Take the first small step towards returning to play whenever that happens.”
For the first time, @UtahJazz VP of Basketball Operations Dennis Lindsey cleared the air about the rift between All-Stars Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell. #TakeNote https://t.co/w8j5LvSBn0
— KSL Sports (@kslsports) May 5, 2020
While Niang was excited to return, his first week back in the building wasn’t all smooth sailing.
“The person who has rebounded for me probably lost about 17 pounds chasing down rebounds,” Niang said. “I am a firm believer that your jump shot is the last thing to go. Obviously, you get in there the first shot felt like you thought you threw your back out. But, once you get warmed up and moving around everything seems to get back to normal.”
Preparing Off The Floor
Though the team has been back at the practice facility for nearly a week, Coach Quin Snyder has been busy keeping the team prepared mentally away from the floor.
“He sends us texts, he sends us books– lots of books, more than I probably ever read in my life,” Niang said. “Even with the quarantine cookbook, just stepping out of our comfort zone and actually being normal humans for however much we can be. It’s been great to have him there not only as a friend and a coach but just as someone that is supporting us in whatever we choose to do in this time right now.”
Before returning to the practice facility, Niang said he found himself going stir crazy in isolation.
🚐| @utah_football head coach Kyle Whittingham jumps in the minivan with @georgesniang20 to talk about building a team culture, transitioning from one rival school to another & how often he 𝗥𝗘𝗔𝗟𝗟𝗬 works out?#DriveAndDish
𝙵𝚄𝙻𝙻 𝚅𝙸𝙳𝙴𝙾 » https://t.co/579SbDDn0a pic.twitter.com/uhti1Z2cMp
— utahjazz (@utahjazz) May 14, 2020
“Mentally, I am not going to lie that was really hard on me,” Niang said. “Doing the [“Drive & Dish“] podcast has helped keep me busy and doing different things. I would say I have been in a good mental place for probably about three weeks now.”
While Niang has tried to stay in top shape, he admitted his quarantine life has resembled that of most Americans stuck at home.
“I’ve been watching “Entourage.” I have probably watched it three times since I’ve been cooped up in my apartment. “Money Heist” has been a good one. I finished “Narcos” and “Ozark.”
A New NBA Workout Normal
Despite the league’s ambitious effort to return the floor, it seems there will have to be a new normal NBA workout for teams. That change in normalcy will be particularly noticeable at the team’s practice facility.
“The guy that is on our training staff has to be in full PPE,” Niang said. “Whether that’s a mask, gloves, I know he’s carrying around a spray bottle with a towel so basically every step that I take or wherever I go that place is getting sprayed down. I don’t want to say there’s a hygiene czar, but he’s a person that knows all the rules for what is supposed to happen.”
They are spraying down every piece of equipment that I touch, every spot that I am down on the floor. Whether I’m down on the floor with on one or two knees, or my stomach when I get on the court. Everybody is allowed one basketball–and that basketball is sprayed down with Clorox. The person that is rebounding for me is in a mask and gloves.”
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