David West: In tune with his body

David West: ‘Listen to your body’
REAL SPORTS SCENE - Anthony Suntay (The Philippine Star) - March 20, 2018 - 12:00am

It’s always enlightening to talk with veteran athletes, because they impart so much knowledge, with all their experience about the game, their fellow competitors, and even insights about health and fitness.

David West has had a very long and successful NBA career, and he looks forward to even more fruitful years playing the sport he loves.

After playing the game for so long, he knows how to approach it in a smarter and more efficient manner.

It’s a natural process, as athletes age, they need to take better care of themselves, some even redefining their games and their roles and contributions to their squad.

Philippine Star: Can you talk about your career and what it’s like now that you’ve won that first ring. 

David West: Yeah, it’s actually been really, really fun. We’re getting everybody’s best shot. Every team is gearing up to play their best game of the year against us. We’re learning. As crazy as it sounds, we’re defending champs but we know we have a lot of work to do in terms of trying to get back to the top. Teams have gotten better. Obviously, teams have made some changes. So we’re in a position where we just know that we’re going to get everybody’s best shot, and we’re having fun defending the title.

What’s the secret to your longevity?  

I think the main thing is to know your body, listen to your body, be in tune with what your body needs, and know your limitations, know when to rest. You’ve got to be in tune with your health in order to keep playing, particularly in the late stages of your career.

It’s been a lot about just changing my diet, preparing for every single game, making sure that my body feels as fresh and as healthy as possible. And then when I’m out there on the floor, just trying to be productive and use my smarts to maintain the advantage.

Jordan Bell has a tremendous upside, what have you told him to get better? 

He has a lot of people talking to him. The coaching staff has been very instrumental in making sure he catches up and he learns on the fly because we don’t have a lot of practice time. A lot of the things that he’s having to do, he’s having to learn just by word of mouth. We really haven’t had much time on the floor. I just try to find my spots. If I get in a place where I can lend some experience to him, I do. He’s a high-caliber kid. I think he knows who he is and he tries to be impactful with what he has. As long as he continues to learn, be a good listener, he has a bright, bright future.

The West is much stronger now, but is San Antonio still relevant?

I think in terms of the West, San Antonio is always a mountain to climb because they’ve got such great pedigree and have been consistently good for a very long time. Houston has made some changes and they’re playing probably the best basketball in the league. So we know it’s going to be difficult. We know that teams have geared up and have changed some. Obviously, Boston has gotten better in the East; Cleveland is who they are.

We’re going to have to get better, and that’s what we’ve been doing. We’re a little banged up right now in terms of health, but guys are developing. Guys who probably wouldn’t be playing as much right now are playing because of the injuries, but it’s going to help us in the long run. We went through a similar stretch like this last year when KD (Kevin Durant) went down, and I thought we were better for it. I think we’re on that same trail in terms of our team just growing and getting better, figuring out what lineups work and who works well together, because ultimately we’re going to have to get through a tough, tough Western Conference playoff.

You’re still the all-team leading scorer for New Orleans, do you think it would be interesting to meet them in the play-offs?

Yeah, I’m still pretty thoroughly connected to New Orleans. I was there for eight years. That was my longest stop in terms of my career, and I started there.

They’re one of those teams that we know we may face at some point. I think we’ve done a good job competing against them, particularly against their size, with Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins. They’re tough, tough competitors. But we’ve been able to meet that challenge to this point. Again, there’s a long way to go before we start talking about playoff matchups. But we know that they’re a team that we may have to face at some point in time.

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Follow me on twitter and Instagram @anthonysuntay, and like my Facebook page: Anthony Suntay.

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