Robert Upshaw recently signed a partially guaranteed two-year contract to join the Lakers for summer league. The odds of him fulfilling this contract by making the final roster are up to interpretation, but he has a steep climb ahead of him to beat out players the Lakers have invested more into than the undrafted free agent with the checkered past.
Upshaw, though, is seemingly looking forward to making the Lakers’ decision as difficult as possible. One way to accomplish that is by getting into the best shape possible after not looking to be in great condition for the team’s summer league team in Las Vegas. And it looks like he’s done just that.
From Joey Ramirez at Lakers.com:
“In Summer League I didn’t feel like myself, and I just didn’t feel as fluid as I usually feel,” Upshaw said. “When I got back to San Diego where I was training, I put an emphasis on being faster, quicker and slimmer.”
Upshaw dropped 20 pounds between Summer League and his signing with the Lakers, reshaping his body beginning with 7 a.m. cardio.
“I would run for an hour and then I would have a basketball workout and then a strength-and-conditioning workout,” he said. “And then I would get shots up at night. I stayed consistent with that for a month and a half, every day, six days a week.”
Upshaw further explained that, after being dismissed from two different universities for off-court issues, he felt the need to prove he has “moved beyond his issues” by dropping the pounds:
“The real reason I (lost weight) was because I felt like I had something to prove,” Upshaw said. “There’s been a lot of talk about the person I used to be and the person that I am. I just want to show everybody that I know who I am and who I can be as a person in this community and with this basketball team.”
All this is, of course, very nice to hear. If a player cannot be disciplined enough to get into top condition to fulfill a once in a lifetime opportunity, when can he be trusted to show that discipline?
Upshaw, to his credit, seems to understand that. He also seems to understand that nothing is guaranteed for him and that only through consistent hard work and sustained performance will he be able to stick for the Lakers.
It remains to be seen if any of these efforts actually leads to a regular season roster spot. When projecting a final roster, there are options which would include Upshaw, but there are also variables where him landing in the D-League make the most sense for the Lakers.
In saying that, however, if he plays well enough and looks to have left his past issues behind him, he will give himself a real chance to achieve what he hopes to. Losing the weight was a nice start towards that goal.
Upshaw did not look NBA-ready when he played over the summer. He will have to make big improvements just to make the 4th center spot, if there is one.
Justifying our faith in you so far !
Keep it up brother !
So what exactly is his weight? I thought he looked skinny and out of shape.
Saw an article on Bleacher Report that talked about Upshaw’s weight loss and the work he’s putting in. So far, he seems to be doing what he has to do. Some of his words:
“Nothing’s guaranteed for me,” Upshaw said. “What I really want to do is go out there and show (General Manager) Mitch (Kupchak), the front office, Coach (Byron) Scott and — most of all — my teammates that I can really play at this level and do something to help this franchise.”
Sounds good to me! I’m also curious as to his present weight. Go Bob!
It seems to me that says
he’s saying and doing the right things, so maybe the odds of him making the roster have improved. I trust Mitch will make the right decision either way.
Well…so far, so good. I’m glad Upshaw is taking measures to get in shape.
IF Upshaw stays clean, conquers his inner demons, and continues to get in better shape, then only one thing remains — to play ball. I sense that for Robert to make the team right off the bat, he’s going to have to clearly out-play Robert Sacre. This goes beyond -showing promise. He MUST out-play Sacre in Pre-season. Otherwise, it’s probably off to the D League.
By the way, if Upshaw does end up in the D League (which I fully expect), that would not necessarily be a horrible thing. Hassan Whiteside, after all, was called up from the D League as was our own Jabari Brown (whom I like) and others. Even Jordan Clarkson and Tarik Black played a few games in the D League last year. So, being sent to the D League isn’t like being exiled to Siberia. If Upshaw ends up there, he should behave himself, work hard, play well, and dominate.
Meanwhile, this Pre-Season could be more interesting than most. I expect some spirited intra-squad battles. Anything could happen. It could be very interesting, indeed.
Twelve more days.
J C says
The Lakers are investing very little with tons of upside potential here.
I’d love to see the explosive player I saw on highlight reels of him in college, not the lumbering beast we saw in summer league.
He seems like a nice kid and I know we all wish him well.
Mt Moxie says
Upshaw stats in Vegas are deceiving. The conclusions even more deceiving. Russell and Randle were top draft picks. Upshaw undrafted. His stats and contributions were as good as other two. He was aggressive and held his own against two top three draft picks. I bet if he stays clean he will top ten center.
No doubt he`s a project,and big men take longer to mature. Hibbert is a good mentor,and he does have some athleticism,and a good stroke,so give him a year in D-League and then see the progress.
Kudos, young fellow! #TeamUpshaw
well, he fxxked up twice within three years of his collegian career, didn’t he…? so what else could he NOT do to try to put himself back on the NBA scouting map…
OF COURSE he ll stop the drinking, say the right thing, get in shape, lose the weight = get a contract.
Yea I’m am so glad the Lakers sign Upshaw he could be our center for the future he has a lot of potential long arms big hands and he is pretty agile a nice shooting stroke and losing 20lbs he was around 275 now 255 getting stonger and in shape shows that he is taking this opportunity serious……