There was a time during Golden State Warriors center Festus Ezeli's rookie season when he could barely catch a basketball in game.
The knock on the Nigerian big man has been his stone hands, which prevent him from catching easy dump passes, or even if he is able to catch the ball, occasionally fumbling it.
But as he showed toward the end of the 2014-15 season, Ezeli's ability to catch passes and finish around the rim has improved, even if his hands have technically stayed the same. According to Ezeli, the issue was never his hands at all.
"It’s never been about my hands," he told CSN Bay Area. "It’s kind of weird, because I always hear people talking about my hands.
"It’s more of an issue of the game slowing down. The more I play, the more I get to see the game and it slows down. I get to have a feel for what to do and how to respond."
That makes sense. The more repetitions you get with an activity, the better you become. Ezeli didn't start playing basketball until late in high school, so it's understandable that he doesn't have some of same polished skill and fundamentals that other big men his age do.
But he's working his tail off trying to improve, and according to some experts, could be in line for a $10 million per year deal next summer if he doesn't sign an extension with the Warriors first.
Add another bullet point to the list of reasons to fear the Warriors next season.