With the start of the 2017-18 NBA season approaching fast, several players have been working out in various gyms across the country to prepare for the upcoming grind.
Cleveland Cavaliers guard Iman Shumpert can be counted among those who are honing their craft this offseason. Over the weekend, the savvy defenseman took part in a pickup game with quite a few of the NBA’s brightest stars, including Serge Ibaka, James Harden, Iman Shumpert, Carmelo Anthony, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, Enes Kanter, and Dahntay Jones.
Just how did such an epic pickup game of hoops come to fruition, you ask? It seems as though Chris Brinkley, one of the best player development trainers in the business, may have had a hand in the gathering of ballers.
Via Nina Mandell of ftw.usatoday.com:
“Chris Brickley, one of the guys that used to work in player development when I was with the Knicks, he’s been training a ton of guys,” Shumpert said. “He was (talking to) my trainer Adam, telling him that guys were having runs up there at (Life Time Athletic at Sky) and I saw (Russell Westbrook) out at Fashion Week and I’m like ‘yo are you going up there to play?’ (He said) ‘I’m playing’, so I told Brick ‘I’m playing.’ (Carmelo Anthony)’s like ‘I’m playing’, I’m like cool, you’re playing.
“We played the one day and before we came back the next day, Bricks said ‘yeah, James Harden and (Chris Paul) said they’re coming today.’ Then JaVale McGee came. Guys just start hearing about it and everyone comes over and you have a game. I think it’s dope that Melo got it up and running. The fact that they let people come in there and get good games going, it’s dope. It keeps basketball alive all summer.”
Shumpert, now 27 years of age, played a career-high 76 games for the Cavs last season, where he averaged 7.5 points on 41 percent shooting from the field (career-high), 2.9 rebounds, and 1.4 assists in 25.5 minutes per contest.
While there is no word as to which team actually won the pickup game(s), it’s clear that these athletes simply enjoyed spending time with one another on the court.