Lang's World: MUSCLEWATCH 2018

It’s a tradition unlike any other: MUSCLEWATCH!

For the uninitiated -- and at this point, who isn’t initiated? -- MUSCLEWATCH began almost two decades ago, when my friend Matt and I noticed each season that some player would report to NBA training camp having added “15 pounds of muscle.” For whatever reason, it was never 12 pounds, never 17 pounds, but always 15 pounds of muscle. Which always made us laugh.

Once Google became sentient, I was able to start compiling MUSCLEWATCH data from around the league. And over time, MUSCLEWATCH became about more than just the requisite 15 pounds of muscle, but about which players showed up for training camp having gained or lost weight.

What’s hilarious to me now is how deeply MUSCLEWATCH, a dumb word my friend Matt and I made up, has become embedded in the NBA lexicon. This season, for instance, I think I only sent out like two or three tweets about it, and yet a simple google search still turned up a bunch of mentions. This article from NBC Sports uses MUSCLEWATCH (with a hashtag!) in the lede.

So let’s stop looking backward and start counting pounds.


  • Los Angeles guard Lonzo Ball has added either 15 or 20 pounds of muscle, depending on who you ask. By which I mean, if you ask him he says he’s added either 15 or 20 pounds. I guess it depends on what time he weighs himself?
  • One player who was already dominant last season was Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo, and this summer he dominated MUSCLEWATCH news.
  • Would like to confirm reports (and photos and videos) from early this season: Giannis Antetokounmpo is indeed JACKED at this point. He’s added so much muscle he’s basically built like a Monstar.

    — Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) October 3, 2018

  • Players are documenting MUSCLEWATCH as it happens via social media, and Giannis caused a stir on social media this summer when a workout photo went viral.
  • So exactly how much weight did he add? Well, fansided.com ran the numbers and thinks Giannis has added 20 pounds of muscle since last season. Impressive!
  • Bulls youngster Lauri Markanen has allegedly added 17 pounds since last season. No word on how much of that weight is muscle.
  • Also, and I apologize that there’s no muscular detail in this report, but Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina has added between 10-15 pounds this offseason. I’m betting it’s 15.
  • Knicks GM Scott Perry said at a team town hall event that second-year guard Frank Ntilikina has added 10-15 pounds during offseason workouts.

    — Ian Begley (@IanBegley) September 17, 2018

  • Hawks rookie Trae Young has added a dozen or so pounds.
  • Trae Young says he's gained 12 to 13 pounds of muscle over the summer. #MUSCLEWATCH

    — Jeff Siegel (@jgsiegel) September 24, 2018

    So close to the magic 15 pounds of muscle!

  • Spurs guard Bryn Forbes has supposedly “packed on” 10 pounds of muscle over the offseason. I love it when people use the phrase “packed on” to describe weight gain, which makes it sound like someone is literally shoving the weight into their body.
  • Orlando forward Jonathan Isaac may have hit the magic number, having apparently added 15 pounds over the offseason.
  • #musclewatch Jonathan Issac pic.twitter.com/kpGtJeknvI

    — magicfaninTN (@magicfaninTN) September 21, 2018

  • Lots of MUSCLEWATCH developments in Sacramento, but most prominently, Skal Labissiere says he’s added 20 pounds since last year.
  • Skal Labissiere said he’s added 20 pounds in the offseason and hired a chef to focus on healthy eating. Did less traveling and attacked the weight room.

    — Jason Jones (@mr_jasonjones) September 24, 2018


  • Jahlil Okafor has turned to vegetarian diet, and over the span of a few years has really slimmed down, according to NOLA.com. That body transformation was Okafor slimming down and getting into much better playing shape. Okafor was previously listed at 275 pounds but lost weight last season after going to a vegan diet.
  • Okafor lost the weight he wanted but also lost his strength. Once he got to New Orleans, he started with a diet that included meats but cut out things like candy and bread and while he's stayed in the 250-254 range weight-wise, he's gained strength back.

    "I feel even stronger now," Okafor said. "I feel phenomenal."

    So somehow he’s lost about 25 pounds over a few years but also gained muscle? Or just gained strength? I don’t know, I’m terrible at math.

    And re Okafor, our friend Tas Melas agrees that he passes the eye test...

    I'm buying Jahlil Okafor's #MuscleWatch projections.

    — Tas Melas (@TasMelas) October 1, 2018

  • From Toronto, someone pointed out that several Jazz players have apparently shed weight this summer.
  • Seven minutes in and the Jazz broadcast has talked about four players losing weight this summer #MuscleWatch

    — Raptors HQ (@RaptorsHQ) October 3, 2018

  • Miles Bridges has apparently lost 18 pounds from the end of his college season to his rookie season in the NBA.
  • Finally, according to MUSCLEWATCH reporter Rick Carlisle, Mavericks guard JJ Barea has cut weight and for the first time in his career he’s down in the 170s.
  • Carlisle when talking about the great shape the team is in, mentions that J.J. Barea is down into 170s for the first time in his career

    — Isaac Harris (@IsaacLHarris) September 24, 2018


  • Marvin Bagley certainly passes the MUSCLEWATCH eye test.
  • Have we done this #MuscleWatch yet? Asking for a friend pic.twitter.com/IN0oz9C6r4

    — John (@HeuristicLineup) September 28, 2018

  • As does Timberwolves guard (and WWE enthusiast) Jeff Teague.
  • Jeff Teague looking SWOLE. #musclewatch pic.twitter.com/4LdzP69lEG

    — Wolvescast (@wolvescast) September 24, 2018


  • Dwight Howard reported to Wizards camp with 6.2 percent body fat.

    — Fred Katz (@FredKatz) September 24, 2018

    This didn’t stop him from later suffering an injury to his butt.

    Seems like a good argument for me not getting down to 6.2 percent body fat.

  • OKC’s Patrick Patterson is apparently in the best shape of his career, although I couldn’t crack the paywall and read the actual article, which disqualifies Patterson from official MUSCLEWATCH contention, sadly.
  • Thunder forward Patrick Patterson is getting a lot of second looks in training camp, with people telling him he looks to be in the best shape of his career. So @BDawsonWrites asked him what he did to make it happen and, more importantly, what he's eating.https://t.co/JnUnwU5Jtr

    — The Athletic (@TheAthleticOKC) September 27, 2018

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