DALLAS (SMU) – As SB Nation’s Michael Pina points out, Philadelphia 76ers’ Ben Simmons might be the fastest player in the NBA, not to mention the other physical advantages he has. But Pina asks the question: is any of that enough?
Weyand explained what it is about Simmons, listed as 6’10 and 240 pounds, that makes him such a wonder on the basketball court, biologically speaking.
“Being really large, it’s hard to be fast … Anything where you’re trying to move body mass in space, it’s an advantage to be small,” says Dr. Peter Weyand, a biomechanist and physiologist who’s spent decades conducting performance related research. “It’s just basic biology, how muscular strength relates to body size. Bigger people are weaker.”
He makes a comparison to sprinters: “The quick and dirty is that if you’re smaller, shorter, and less massive, it’s easier to accelerate,” Weyand says. “So if you look at the difference between 400- vs. 200- vs. 100-meter specialists, the shorter the race is the shorter they get, because more of that race is accelerating. And then if you go to the indoor competitions, where typically the standard race distance is 60 meters, the guys that excel at that rate tend to be even shorter, because more of that race is accelerating.”
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