Joe Abunassar Rumors
Haliburton honed his mind, body and abilities under the watchful eye of Impact Basketball founder Joe Abunassar, a former coach who has trained pro players for 25 years. The list of NBA players Abunassar has trained features Kevin Garnett, Chauncey Billups, Tayshaun Prince, DeMarcus Cousins, Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry. Now it also includes Haliburton, the 6-foot-5 guard from Iowa State who was selected by the Kings with the No. 12 pick in Wednesday’s NBA Draft.
How do you prepare to develop Tyrese Haliburton? Are you watching film of him before he comes in? Do you talk to guys in basketball to know his strengths and weaknesses? What is your process of knowing how to improve a player? Joe Abunassar: It’s really a combination of many things. One is for sure watching film, analyzing him. Or watching his movement patterns. Obviously with Tyrese, we know he needed to get stronger. We’re looking at how his game in college would translate into the NBA with the different styles of offenses — you know, a lot of college programs still go through the post and things like that. Obviously, he’s not gonna be doing that. We really take an analysis of what all the teams are saying. For the draft specifically, it’s my job to accentuate strengths, eliminate weaknesses, and really transition that player for the NBA. Not even just for the draft but to be able to make it in the league. It’s really a combination.
Who’s been the most fun to train? Who’s been the most interesting? Joe Abunassar: I mean you spend 19 years with Kevin Garnett, that’s a little interesting. It’s from spur of the moment trips that I’ve landed in Minnesota and put my bag down and he said, “Don’t put your bag down, we’re going to Toronto.” I said, “I don’t want to go to Toronto.” We go to Toronto and we train. I’ve traveled with those guys. I always tell the story of my son is now 19 and he used to rebound and Kevin would just chew his ass out during the workout at 9 years old. He just has no off switch for his intensity. He’s great.
Jared Dudley: One of the best basketball trainers in the game! Over 20 years strong! From KG, T.Lue, Chauncey Billips, Baron Davis too now guys like K. Lowry! @Joe_Abunassar @impactbball
What have you done to prepare for the NBA draft so far this offseason? Terence Davis: I signed with Adam Pensack and they have trainers at Impact Sports with Joe Abunassar and Drew Moore and they are unbelievable. The work we get done there with the conditioning and the players we get to work out with is amazing. It is a good vibe and a good scene and has definitely helped me out a lot with this process.
To the fans that make up James’s 33.4 million followers on Instagram, the workout video is a curiosity—another window into how one of the world’s greatest athletes tunes up his body “in the lab.” But for basketball players, the video serves as a moment of realization. “What happens now is a guy loses 15 pounds and he posts it on social media,” says Joe Abunassar, a longtime NBA trainer and the founder and president of Impact Basketball. “It’s not hard to convince an NBA guy to do something when the best guys in the league are doing it.”