Basketball is a rigorous and physically demanding sport. It requires staunch athleticism, tremendous conditioning and countless hours spent in the weight room.
Sometimes, being big can help an athlete out. Players like Shaquille O'Neal (7'1'', 325 pounds) made their living on being big. However, sometimes being a little too plump can really hurt a player's game.
Who are some players who can stand to lose a pound or two? Here's a short list.
He’s an NBA champion, a fan favorite and the Chicago Bulls' first-string 12th man.
While Brian Scalabrine’s beer gut might give him a Jack Black-sexy allure to his cult following, Scalabrine should consider shedding a couple of pounds should he want to see the court more often.
Still, it’s his appearance as an average, middle-aged American that is what fans relate to when they cheer for Scalabrine, so he might be comfortable packing an extra pound or two and riding the end of the bench in exchange for his popularity.
Of course Big Baby makes this list.
However, it’s hard to rank Glen Davis higher among NBA heavyweights who need to get lighter simply because of how the forward handles his girth.
Davis is exceptionally nimble for someone who weighs in at 289 pounds, and his weight down low often gives him solid leverage in the post against opposing big men.
Still, Davis’ large frame does impact his ability to elevate a bit, limiting his finishing, rebounding and shot-blocking ability. It might be time for Davis to finally lose his baby fat.
DeMarcus Cousins has talent through the roof, but aside from his character flaws, his poor conditioning really hinders his ability to perform at his full potential.
He tends to get himself into foul trouble by playing lazy defense, and his weight limits the otherwise-gifted defender's mobility in the post.
Cousins has the potential to be one of the most dominant centers in the league, but he’ll need to cut some weight and straighten out his attitude before he can be mentioned among the NBA’s elite.
Raymond Felton appeared to have broken out, running Mike D’Antoni’s offense in New York prior to the Carmelo Anthony trade. But a year later, he looks direly out of shape, which has really hindered his usability in Portland.
Felton is playing just 31.8 minutes per game this season compared to 38.1 per contest with the Knicks last year. Playing a rigorous position like point guard in the NBA is no place for someone who is out of shape.
He still looks good on both sides of the ball when on the court, but if Felton wants to churn out All-Star numbers like he did in New York, he’ll need to drop a few pounds as he enters his late 20s.
Zach Randolph might have stolen the show in last year’s NBA playoffs, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that his limited mobility hurts him defensively.
Z-Bo lacks the speed and agility to be a reliable help defender at the power forward and is equally inept at defending the pick-and-roll.
His size at 6'9", 260 pounds makes him decent at defending in one-on-one situations down low, but his defensive game would be so much better if Randolph leaned out a bit.
You can just see the fat in Melo's face.
Carmelo Anthony is one of the league's nastiest scorers, but his poor defense could be due to the fact that he looks a bit top heavy, particularly in the face.
Poor defensive footwork is often the case of being overweight, and 'Melo looks downright lethargic at times when defending on the perimeter.
He takes poor angles and gets routinely burnt by some of the quicker forwards in the league. Listed at 6'8", 230 pounds, Anthony should definitely consider losing some weight if he wants to help carry the Knicks to a championship.
No player has had their weight impact their game more than Baron Davis over the past few years.
Donald Sterling used to call Baron Davis out on the sideline for being out of shape, and it’s pretty evident that the once All-Star-caliber point guard hasn’t been the same since he starting packing on the pounds in Los Angeles.
Davis looks gassed at times in transition and often finds himself taking errant three-point shots or long twos that really hinder his efficiency.
Davis’ greatest strength offensively is his ability to drive to the lane and dump, but his conditioning prevents him from taking it viciously to the rack like he did in his days with the Warriors and Hornets.
He has the talent to be one of the best perimeter defenders in the league at the point, but he doesn’t have enough energy in the tank to play relentless defense on every possession.
Analysts often blame Davis’ lack of engagement while playing for the lowly Clippers for two seasons for his fall from grace, but if starting at point in the Big Apple can’t bring Davis back to life, it’s hard to imagine what can.
It’s time for Davis to get his rear in gear and get back in shape, before it’s too late.