NBA bubble play has some GMs discussing travel effects

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Since games began on July 30, several NBA general managers and team athletic training officials have noticed that the play looks crisp, players are moving up and down the court with speed, and there were top-notch performances almost every night even though teams were playing every other day at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World.

Though it is a small sample size, GMs and team staffers pointed to the same factor: the lack of travel.

“Our guys feel better,” one Western Conference GM told ESPN. “We don’t know if it’s anecdotal, but we’ve got these games and we don’t have to jump on planes [afterward].”nfl nike jersey cheap

“This is the advantage that we have not had,” said one Western Conference athletic training staffer in the bubble. “We’re always tired … Our guys have been rested. They’ve been fresh. We’ve been able to get them recovered again and again.”

On a call with all team GMs and NBA commissioner Adam Silver in August, Silver mentioned that the quality of play had indeed been impressive, sources with direct knowledge of the call said. Later, a GM said that it had been his observation — and that he was receiving feedback from management, staff and players — that additional rest and lack of travel were playing a role in the quality of the performances, sources said.7

A second GM then chimed in on the same theme, sources said, echoing that the lack of travel and additional rest contributed to better play and helped even out the competition. Sources said a league official on the call then brought up the concept of teams heading into cities to play a potential series of games — fly into a city and play the host team in two games over a short time span. The idea, which several GMs considered akin to a baseball homestand, was discussed in an effort to reduce the mileage teams might have to fly during the regular nike nfl jerseys wholesale

League officials, including Silver, are well aware that the bubble has offered thrilling individual performances and nail-biting finishes, including notable game-winning shots and overtime endings. It’s unclear what factors have played the biggest role in leading to such performances — there’s no true home-court advantage, for example — but these officials are aware that lack of travel and the additional rest and time for recovery have been key components.

In a call with reporters Wednesday, Utah Jazz EVP of Basketball Operations Dennis Lindsey also mentioned this concept. “The league … teams specifically and the health performance group has gotten a lot of feedback from the players that the reduced travel, they physically feel better,” Lindsey said. “So, would we ever get to a situation like baseball where you play a team more than one time in the market. Obviously, there’s some business concerns there, but that reduced travel, I definitely think the product is more compelling because of that. The players feel better and, frankly, we need to listen to the players.”

Conversely, Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel noted Wednesday that the late starts his team has played have eliminated whatever advantages playing in a centralized location might offer.

“You just remove that element of being in the air, arriving late at night. But our 9 o’clock starts, it feels like we’re playing and traveling during the season,” Vogel told reporters Wednesday. “It’s because you’re getting back to the hotel very late; you’re up late.”

Portland Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts noted previously that the pace of games — playing every other day — likely wouldn’t be possible if travel were involved.