OPSL Camp: Day Two Recap

by Max Rappaport
Sixers.com Writer
@MaxRappaport

The NBA season is a grueling affair. Eighty-two games, upwards of 70 flights, and thousands gym and weight room hours are condensed into a six-month period. While the offseason provides some much-needed relief, it is also an opportunity for players to work on aspects of their games and bodies that are otherwise neglected during the demanding NBA season. 

It’s clear that second-year swingman Hollis Thompson is looking to make the most of his summer.

When the season ended, the 23-year-old Georgetown alum told coaches that he was going to take one week off to recharge his batteries before returning to Philadelphia to work with Sixers strength and conditioning coach Jesse Wright. Over the past two months, Thompson has focused on bulking up for his sophomore campaign.

“I think Hollis looked at who he had to match up against throughout [last year] – LeBron James when we played Miami, Carmelo [Anthony] in New York, [Kevin Durant]. They’re either taller or they’re bigger,” assistant coach Lloyd Pierce said of Thompson’s motivation to add muscle.

It’s paid off thus far, with the young swingman adding nine pounds of muscle since the season ended in mid-April. Thompson, who led all rookies in three-point percentage last season at 40.1%, says the added bulk in his upper body hasn’t affected his jump shot.

“I try to get a lot of shots up through the lifting and through the weight gain, and I feel stronger just playing defense and going to the basket,” he said.

Having appeared in 77 games for the Sixers last season, Thompson is the most experienced member of Philadelphia’s Orlando Pro Summer League roster. He’s joined by returning Sixers Casper Ware and Nerlens Noel, who is expected to make his Sixers debut this Saturday at 1pm when Philadelphia and Orlando meet in the teams’ first OPSL game.

But those aren’t the only players making the most of the summer months. On Wednesday, center Henry Sims was in the team’s practice facility working one-on-one with assistant coach Billy Lange. Sims, who played alongside Hollis Thompson at Georgetown, started 25 for Philadelphia after the team acquired him at the trade deadline in February, averaging 13.8 points (60.4 FG%) and 6.4 rebounds in just under 30 minutes per game. 

The Sixers will practice in Philadelphia Thursday before departing for Orlando Friday morning. There, the team will hold an evening practice session ahead of their OPSL opener. Watch the Orlando Pro Summer League on NBA TV and make sure to check out Sixers.com for news, interviews, highlights, and more.

Interviews: