Dime: Speaking of new guys, JaVale McGee joined your team midway through the year. I know he has asthma and the altitude in Denver has been a challenge for him. What type of training or exercises do you do with him, to help him deal with this issue?
SH: We started to do some quick sprint drills to help him open up. You have to understand that he is rolling in and has to play right away. So we have to be very careful not to overload the system. The one thing that is astounding about JaVale, is that for a guy his size, he is functionally put together really well. He has a good understanding of his body and is about to get a better understanding of it. The thing that amazes me is that he is committed to getting better and he does whatever it takes to get better. People think that it’s been like a honeymoon ever since he got here, I am just telling you when it comes to specifics like extra stuff in the weight room and extra conditioning, guys don’t have to do it in the middle of the season and he does it consistently. So I have been so freaking impressed with this dude.
Dime: I remember reading in a recent SI article about McGee how the whole Nuggets training and coaching staff were so impressed with the size of his hands…
SH: I mean the dude is 7-1 with a 7-6 wingspan so a lot of times when you get a guy that big, they don’t have control of their body. I am watching him and am like, “Dude you are unbelievable. Your ability to utilize this body is amazing!” It’s just exciting; he’s just a freaking athlete.
Dime: The playoffs are coming up, so as a training stuff what do you guys do differently? Do you switch up the routine in any way?
SH: Generally, you want to pick it up a notch. Get a little more mentally focused. Get more succinct in everything you are doing because there is only a certain amount of time and we have to maximize the players’ efforts. But understand if you go to the next level and the round after, you have to say what can I do to help make these guys better? Is it rest? Is it lifting? Is it stretching? Is it hydration? Is it nutrition? You have to be a little more precise. You like to say you are not because you want to be that consistent all the way through. But yo, the playoffs are so freaking exciting, it’s amazing.
Dime: I know you are a health/fitness nut, but what’s your one guilty food pleasure?
SH: A big cheeseburger with disgusting toppings, disgusting cheese and so big…so huge, that would be it. (Laughs) There’s a place in Denver called The Cricket. They got a cheeseburger, that oh my gosh, I don’t even like to have it that often but that’s the most unbelievable hamburger I have ever tasted in my whole life. I eat that eight ouncer with everything on it and I go to heaven but then I feel like shit afterwards but it’s unbelievable.
For more on Steve Hess follow him on Twitter @SteveHess1
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