Former San Antonio Spurs player Bruce Bowen experienced the 1998-1999 NBA lockout. Having experienced a fifty game shortened season, Bowen issues warning to veteran players that it will be very difficult to keep their physical health at an elite level with games lost. He’s speaking mainly to veterans getting closer to the end of their career.
“I was younger then, but for guys 32 and above, it’s going to affect them, those three back-to-backs. That’s something that you can’t prepare for, even in training camp. The biggest issue is if guys aren’t taking care of themselves right now. You remember when Shawn Kemp came back, 50 pounds heavier? Guys say ‘Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, I’m good, good.’ But you’re not in shape like if you were in camp. Conditioning is huge. And it’s a shortened season, where if anyone gets on a roll the right way, they can go, go and go.”
For the San Antonio Spurs, they have an assortment of veterans that are still focal parts of their team. Spurs players under Gregg Popovich haven’t been known to get out of physical shape aside from DeJuan Blair. But without the superb training staff NOT having contact with players, it’s unknown how players would return physically in a shortened season.