(former Sonics/Bucks/Knicks fixture Vin Baker — who knows how his career might’ve been extended by a few extra hours in bed?)
Maybe Allen Iverson was onto something after all? The morning shootaround “may soon be extinct, another dusty exhibit in basketball history, next to the peach basket, the two-handed set shot and John Stockton™s short shorts,” writes the New York Times’ Howard Beck, of a growing trend amongst NBA clubs to prioritize sleep.
Three teams ” the Celtics, the San Antonio Spurs and the Portland Trail Blazers ” have dropped the morning shoot-around. The Knicks now hold them only for road games. The Denver Nuggets dropped them last week. The Washington Wizards are experimenting without them, though only in spots.
A growing interest in sleep science ” and a recognition that players need more time to recharge ” is fueling the trend. Simply speaking, N.B.A. players often fail to get enough sleep.
The typical night game ends at about 10 p.m. By the time players shower, dress and speak with the news media, it is close to 11 p.m. They are usually famished, so everyone eats a late dinner. Even the most conservative players ” those who do not frequent nightclubs ” will not get to sleep until at least 2 a.m. If the team is traveling, players may not reach their hotel until 3 a.m.
For a shoot-around or practice that starts at 10 a.m., players have to arrive as early as 9 a.m. to lift weights, receive treatment or be taped.
œIf you go three, four, five days in a row with less than six hours of sleep, your reaction time is comparable to that of someone legally drunk, Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. œYou™re trying to play a basketball game where just a 10th of second, a degree off, throws your whole game off.