A month after featuring in the NBA Summer League for the Dallas Mavericks, Satnam Singh Bhamara is setting himself up for the game-building platform that is the Development League, or the D-League. Topping the list of the 19-year-old cager’s ‘to-do’ list is to increase his stamina before he can work on improving his skillset.
Stepping on court in the Summer League, after four years of High School basketball in the United States, the towering 7-foot-2 centre noticed an increase in speed and flair in the new division. “Game plays were much faster and passes and shots at the basket were far more frequent and accurate than what it was at the high school level,” recalls Bhamara, who became the first Indian to be drafted to the NBA when the Mavericks chose him as their second, and overall 52nd pick during the June draft.
Nonetheless, his coaches’ feedback proclaimed Bhamara on power with his peers in terms of sprint speed and strength. “What I need to focus on foremost is my stamina. I have a good short sprint but because of low stamina, I lack the consistency to keep up with the same pace,” he explains. Following the bout of endurance training he will be subject to as soon as he reaches Dallas, will be drills to improve his overall skillset – dribbling, passing and running on and off the ball. “I’ve been working hard at it and the results have been decent. But there is still work to be done. For example, my shooting has been decent, but I know it can get better,” he adds.
The teenager is on his way back to Dallas after taking 10 days off to meet his family at the Ballo Ke village in the Barnala district of Punjab, his first visit after the draft. Yet to work in the D-League stage, Bhamara has made a strict and stern list of the hurdles he needs to accomplish before he can be considered for the Mavericks’ first team.
Shortly after being picked, the Dallas franchise owner Mark Cuban had stated that the team saw Bhamara as a long-term project. The youngster however is hoping to break through to the main squad in a year. “It may extend to a second or third year though. But the idea is for me to be perfect in all aspects before I make the jump to the main team,” Bhamara asserts.
The game-time the youngster was granted during the Summer League, Bhamara maintains, served well to show him his strengths and what he needs to work on still. “It’s a platform where players can see where they stand. And the D-League is where they fix those problems,” he mentions. “As soon as I get back, I will be training according to what the coaches have told me, and what I saw for myself,” he concludes.