Why we saw so Many Breakout Players in the NBA Bubble
he NBA Bubble was created to safely finish the 2019–20 NBA season. To finish a season that had been halted due to a global pandemic in a safe, controlled environment. There were no fans until the later rounds of the playoffs, no traveling, the players were tested virtually every day, masks and social distancing guidelines were followed and it resulted in a 3-month span of zero positive Coronavirus cases. Kudos to the NBA, Adam Silver, and all the players for the sacrifices they made to finish the 2019–20 NBA Season.
In this controlled, Bubble environment, we saw numerous players thrive like never before. Names that come to mind are Duncan Robinson, Gary Trent Jr., and Luguentz Dort. These players made a real name for themselves through the NBA re-start in Orlando.
Why were some players more effective inside the Bubble than they were under normal circumstances?
Was it because there was less pressure playing in front of no fans as opposed to tens of thousands of fans?
Damian Lillard of the Portland Trailblazers may have the answers to our burning questions. Lillard was being interviewed by Fat Joe recently where he opened up about the perks of being in the Bubble and why he believes many players blossomed under the unusual conditions.
‘To me personally, the Bubble was way easier…There was really no distractions… We didn’t have to travel after games’ Lillard exclaimed during the interview. He went on to say that the team would stay at the arena until 10 or 11 at night before heading back to their hotel where ice baths were already set up in the pool area. Teams could get their recovery in directly after a game along with a meal and some much needed rest in their hotel rather than getting directly onto an airplane and flying back to Portland from wherever they were the previous night.
He painted a picture of what normal circumstances look like after a game. You shower up, get on the plane, check into another hotel if you are still on the road, get settled in with your recovery in the hotel room and get to sleep. A less than ideal situation when you compare it to the Bubble where the players never had to leave the confines of their Walt Disney Resort.
This could explain why we saw so many players flourish in this environment. The Bubble made it so much easier for players. With no burden of traveling after games, all the players had to worry about was getting back to the hotel. Once they were there, everything was set up and ready to go. They could get their meal, and recovery time in and immediately head to their respective hotel rooms to rest their achy muscles before doing it all over again the next day.
Lillard said ‘Our bodies were recovering faster; we were more rested… I think that is why you saw people killing like that.’
It does make a lot of sense. The fact that players did not have to worry about traveling or checking into hotel room after hotel room. They could focus their time and energy on taking care of their bodies so they could be as effective as possible each night.
While the 2020–21 season will be played in home markets aside, the burden of traveling and everything that comes along with it will come back into play. It will be interesting to see which NBA Bubble Stars continue their rise to stardom outside of the Bubble environment and which revert to their true form. Something to keep an eye on this season.
Overall, the NBA Bubble should show players how important rest and recovery is to their health and performance on and off the court. Taking care of your body through the multitude of recovery methods offered by NBA training staffs is essential to succeeding throughout a long, grueling NBA season.
LeBron James does a great job taking care of his body, and it shows with how he plays on the court. Not only do you see the importance of rest and recovery in Basketball, but you see it at the height of other sports as well. Look at Tom Brady. He notoriously takes great care of his body and overall health just like LeBron. That is how they continue to dominate in their respective sports at their ages.
Not only does rest, recovery, and taking care of your body help your performance, but it will help prevent injury as well. Again, LeBron and Tom Brady are both very durable players who rarely suffer injuries that see them out for an extended period.
If athletes learned anything from the NBA Bubble, it should be the heightened importance of taking care of their bodies and minds so they can perform at the height of their athletic abilities.