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At home with Jaylen Hands: improvising to get better during shutdown

Washington Wizards v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Jaylen Hands, the Nets second round pick who spent his rookie season in Uniondale with the Long Island Nets, has no plans to take time off during the NBA’s suspension.

Hands, back home in San Diego, has applied a tight regimen for himself that includes working with the weights inside ... and working out with his father on their outdoor court. Specifically, Hands, who is well known for his bounce, is focusing on adding muscle to his legs.

“I have been following a strict schedule,” Hands told Bryan Fenley of Locked On Bruins Podcast, but sometimes he admits he’s had to improvise due to coronavirus.“

“We like to go to different parks. Me and my dad. The beginning of this week, they started putting wooden bars on top of the hoops where we worked out at so I’ve been working out in my backyard and working on my game.”

Hands, whose thin frame hurt his draft stock, said adding strength is his top priority.

“I am big on weights right now. I want to put on a lot of weight for next year. Big on putting strength on my legs so I have been doing a lot of leg days, a lot of sand work, but in terms of just basketball and skillswise, just working on my hands and finishing.”

He spoke as well about how he and his Long Island Nets learned about the suspension of play six weeks ago. Shortly following the NBA’s suspension of their season, the G League suspended its season, which was then canceled. They’re be no return to play for Long Island or the 27 other teams.

“We [Long Island Nets] were actually in Chicago, so Windy City,” Hands said. “We had a game the night before and flew straight to Windy City. We were actually scheduled to play the next day and literally at night, about eight o’clock. We were all on Twitter and saw that Rudy Gobert had that whole thing going on and moments later, they suspended the whole season. It was kind of crazy then by the next morning, we flew back to New York.”

“I was in New York for about three or four days. They wanted to keep the team safe in quarantine and by the time they thought it was safe for us to leave, they sent us home.”

Reflecting on his two collegiate seasons at UCLA, Hands pointed out one big difference between college and the pros: time management. The Nets guard highlighted how the NBA requires players to be more independent while college had more dependent pieces around him.

“In college, you have your teammates, you have your coaches, you have school, so everyone is really on you about being places and being everywhere,” Hands said. “When you get to the next level, it is really just on you and your time management. If you don’t get to the game on time, if you don’t get to film on time, like literally on you. That is going to affect you and your career.

“So for me, I want to make the point now to stay on that same path of managing my time correctly. Being able to get up early, getting to work early, and being efficient is what I do.”

Hands said his time at Nassau Coliseum helped him “resurrect” his game specifically his defense and maintaining a fast pace. Here’s a set of his highlights in Long Island...

Hands finished his rookie season in Uniondale averaging 11.4 points, 3.3 assists, and 3.0 rebounds in 22.6 minutes per game. The 21 year-old guard started 19 of the 41 games he played.

Despite playing with the Nets G League affiliate, Hands had a mentor who many rookie guards would love to have had. The Nets second round pick spoke highly of Kyrie Irving, emphasizing his work ethic.

“It was dope to just see him work,” Hands said of Irving. “For me, I got to see him work everyday. I got to see how serious he takes pick up games, shooting by himself, and in the weight room. He is a great teammate, very uplifting, so from him he was always [saying] ‘keep getting better, adapt, keep working, pay attention, listen. He is a great person.”

The 6’3” guard didn’t talk about his situation with the Nets. Back in October, Hands was signed to a G League contract under the league’s relatively new Draft Rights provision which allows teams to assign a second draft pick directly to their G League affiliates while retaining their rights. The Nets have his NBA draft rights in perpetuity just as they do with their five international stashes.