Brett Brown's obsession with fitness

Posted: November 27, 2013

SPENCER HAWES had to laugh when he did his best Brett Brown imitation, laying on the thick Boston accent when he said "career-best fitness." The conversation was about Brown's obsession with fitness and the benefits he believes his team reaps from it.

Since he was introduced as the new coach late in the summer, Brown has spoken daily of body fat, diet, hydration and overall fitness. His players (non-glowingly) talk about his desire to have them running as much as possible. It is an advantage, no matter the team's talent level or lack thereof, he believes is a necessity for this young team he has inherited. He even pulled out a piece of paper after practice yesterday to prove how well his plan is working so far.

"Lavoy Allen, down 14 pounds, almost 3 percent body fat; James Anderson down 11 pounds and almost 3 percent body fat; Evan Turner down 9 pounds, almost 2.5 percent; Daniel Orton, 13 pounds in 5 weeks, 3 percent body fat; Jason Richardson, who is not even playing, 11 pounds; Arnett Moultrie is down 5 pounds and he hasn't even played, he's sort of still injured. All those other guys who weren't in rotation - Hollis Thompson, Daniel Orton, Brandon Davies - on a bike, they don't get into rotations and they're on the bike for 20 minutes even if they're not getting their NBA minimum 20 minutes a game," Brown said. "They've invested time and it's helped us a lot. They've bought in, in a big way, and I hope it's something that they'll hold onto, to understand that this is the key to their future and the key to longevity.

"Sports science is going to take over in a far greater way, in my opinion, in the next 8 to 10 years. It's going to be like race cars pulling in and you've got all these people working on them and they change a tire and boom, they send them out. It's all about recovery. How do you back it up, playing 82 games, back-to-back games, how do you back it up? What do you do on a plane if you're flying? Those people that take care of their bodies and are prideful on diet, hydration and nutrition and massages and ice baths - all those things . . .

"All the programs do it, it's not like we found anything tricky, we just want to be responsible with it. We want to be very proactive with it."

While his players may not have been feeling like the goal was worth the work during a grueling training camp, all laugh when speaking of it now.

"With how long the season is, fitness is key, especially with back-to-backs and weeks with four games in five nights," said Turner, who is down to 215 pounds after being as high as 235 last season. "It's key in what you eat and your weight and everything like that is huge. Doug [Collins] definitely preached and spoke about it, but this guy is cutting people if they don't reach the finish [Kwame Brown?]. He really preaches it a lot and it's one of the first things he spoke on when we first talked was fitness and health.

"First, we had to do a conditioning test and we had to drop weight. He told us what weight he wanted us to be at. He was kind of nice about it, but he wasn't. The first couple of years in back-to-backs I was more tired, throughout the day I was wondering how I was going to finish the back-to-back. Now I'm ready for the back-to-back."

Brown's formula is currently being put to the test. He firmly believes the better the fitness the quicker players can return from the nagging injuries that accompany any season. Hawes (knee) and Tony Wroten (back) are two players who are currently hoping to benefit from the fitness routine as they try to get back in the lineup when the teams plays in Orlando tomorrow. Brown said he was told not to expect anything from the two for tomorrow, with their status still uncertain. But Wroten said he hopes to return, and he praised the style that Brown has implemented.

"I compare this to college," Wroten said. "In college you run a lot and do a lot of conditioning. When I first got traded here I knew it was serious because not only did the coaches talk to me, but the strength and conditioning coach [Jesse Wright] was one of the first ones to call me. He emailed me about how the summer was going to be and what we were going to do. At the time it was like, 'What is this? It's like college.' But it's going to pay off in the long run. You see us running at the end of games, fast-breaking at an up-tempo pace. I feel like all the work we put in this summer is going to help a lot.

"In film the other day we were watching the fourth quarter and with like a minute left you see Mike [Carter-Williams] picking up full court. In the NBA people don't pick up full court at all. For him to be able to do that with 1 minute left in the fourth quarter, esepcially when we only had like six, seven or eight people. He played a lot of minutes and he was tired, it just shows the little things . . .

"Sometimes teams joke with us on the court saying, 'Man, you gonna stop running?' They're joking, but they're serious. They know we're going to keep running, keep running, keep running."

On Twitter: @BobCooney76


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