5 Challenges Sim Bhullar must conquer to establish himself in the NBA
On occasion of India’s Independence day, the 7 foot 5 inches center of Indian descent Sim Bhullar announced to the world via Twitter the news that he had signed an NBA contract with the Sacramento Kings. The contract assures him of a spot with the Kings whether it is with their NBA roster or with the D-League affiliate Reno Big Horns.The signing also means that he will be present at the team’s training camp in the beginning of October to contest for a roster spot. However forgoing two years of college and trying to make it big in the best basketball league in the world would be no piece of cake. So Bhullar has made it to the top of the mountain, but the degree of difficulty to stay and remain at the top is at another level altogether. There are going to be plenty of challenges he will have to face every step of the way. Here are the 5 basic ones he will overcome and conquer in order to make it big and establish himself in the NBA:
#5 Monitor his weight
All are quite well informed about how tall Bhullar is and the fact that he is among the top 10 tallest basketball players ever to have played the game, but not many know how much he weighs. He checks in 355 pounds (161 kg) which at first thought does clearly sound overweight, however he need not reduce it drastically as he has an appreciable amount of muscle which would come handy at his length.
For players his height even being at the optimum weight still results in a career much shorter than say of a player even half a foot shorter than him. He must make sure he either reduces or monitors his weight to prevent too much pressure coming onto his legs which could result in career shortening injuries.
#4 Improve fitness and stamina
Across both his years at New Mexico State University, Bhullar averaged 25 minutes a game. The workout sessions and fitness routines that he followed must be doubled or tripled to tune his body for the wear and tear of a single NBA game, the intensity of which will be much more than what he felt in the WAC (Western Athletic Conference) tournament.
The leap from college to the pro league is a huge one when it comes to fitness for every rookie, let alone for a player who is as tall as Yao Ming (7 foot 6 inches).
#3 Make it past training camp
Before he starts thinking about playing in the NBA, he needs to prove that he is worthy of a roster spot on the Kings NBA team and that chance will come in the team’s training camp. He needs to be physically ready to grab every opportunity he gets in order to make the cut past training camp.
Despite his height advantage, Bhullar will most probably contest for the second or third center in the team with DeMarcus Cousins, the face of the franchise out of contention. In the official list of players under contract with the Kings, Bhullar is the only other center on the roster other than Cousins. So while his chances seem bright, he will prove his fitness in training camp for the coaching staff to give the nod.
#2 Prove himself to be match-worthy
Proving yourself to be fit to play is only half the job completed, making an impact during his time on the floor is what his biggest challenge would be after making the cut for the roster from training camp. For his minutes played, he might have put up huge numbers for his college but at the pro level, its another ball game altogether.
The physicality, intensity and speed of an NBA game cannot be mistaken to be the same as any other college game even the ones in the NCAA tournament for that matter. Dealing with the grind of the 82 game regular season and being productive at the same time to protect his spot in the rotation would be a monster of a challenge for Bhullar to overcome.
#1 Remain injury free
Players with much talked about work ethics also fall victims to the grind, stress and fatigue of an NBA season should put it in perspective as to how hard it is going to be for Bhullar to remain in the NBA over a long period of time.
It doesnt take too long for players of his height to sprain, twist or permanently damage various parts of their leg which are vital to their play. Yao Ming under the best supervision of minutes and medics lasted just about 8 seasons in the league. Staying injury free to prolong his career will be as difficult for Bhullar as making positive strides in his game. Even simple non-compeitive practise sessions could turn ugly with a single wrong step