Every offseason, it's a norm for basketball players to be working on their craft. The likes of LeBron James, Giannis Antetekounmpo, and Steph Curry constantly post pictures of themselves working on their game every summer.
But there also comes the point where teams look out for the well-being of their players, telling them to take a breather from the sport — even if it's during the most critical time of the year to develop their game.
For the Detroit Pistons, their number one suggestion for their starting forward Saddiq Bey was to take time off the hardwood because, after all, a fresh and healthy mind and body go a long way. So instead of pushing him to work more, the Pistons asked Bey to find another hobby that will take his mind off the game and enhance his court performance.
How about hiking?
Bey then decided to take on hiking as his new hobby to improve his strength, muscle mass, and endurance. His latest hobby developed because he's currently living in Colorado, where you can find the steepest and high-altitude mountains in the world.
"I wanted to try something different," Bey told The Athletic. "I've been doing the same things every summer. I had the opportunity to be able to go and work out someplace else. I thought this was the best spot."
"He [Bey] kept stopping and waiting for me. I was telling him just to go and I'd meet him at the top. When he got there, he was taking pictures and smiling. Each time we make it up to the top, he's always in awe. Nothing else matters, not basketball or money," Pistons' video coordinator Aaron Dotson said.
Entering his 3rd season in the league, Bey is expected to have a breakout year after improving his numbers last season -- his scoring (16.1 points) and rebounding (5.4 rebounds) took a big leap. The Pistons are expected to continue rebuilding around their young core, and they're banking on Bey to be a crucial part of their future.
The right mindset
It's rare to hear about the offseason plans of under-the-spotlight players like Bey. But this story should please the Pistons and its fans who know that the 20th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft has enough potential to become a good starter in this league. The key for Saddiq is to improve his 3-point shooting (which went down to 34.6% from 38.0% last season) and defense.
Hopefully, Bey's efforts in finding a new love for hiking will help him reach new heights this season, both on and off the court. Who knows? With his work ethic and dedication to improving, Saddiq might take what many call the third-year leap.