Greetings from Orlando. First extended road trip of the season, and I'm lucky enough to get to travel with the team for these next four games against the Magic, Heat, Hornets and Timberwolves (we head back to Portland before the game against the Warriors). Consider me your eyes and ears for the next week.
Being that it's the first real roadie of the season, the team is experimenting with some scheduling changes that hopefully will pay dividends on the court. We left PDX yesterday at noon, arriving in Orlando around 8 p.m. Eastern. Standard procedure would be to go from the airport to the hotel then shoot around the next morning, but this time, we headed straight to the Magic practice facility for shoot around.
Usually if the team had an off day before a road game, one of two things would happen. In some instances they'd fly out directly after the game, which in this case would have meant getting into Orlando sometime around 8 a.m. Eastern Monday morning. No one wants that. The other option would be to have a morning practice in Portland, then fly out directly after. In that instance, the team would probably shoot around at 11 a.m. local time on game day, which to our Portland bodies would feel like 8 a.m.
So rather than trying to adjust to the time change the morning before game, the decision was made to shoot around the day before, lay low during the day, then head to Amway Arena for the 7 p.m. Eastern start. This may all seem insignificant, but let me explain why, in my opinion, it isn't.
To understand why I think this is a good move, you have to understand the difference between a regular practice and a shoot around.
A regular practice usually lasts about two hours, is full-contact game speed, and focuses on what we need to do as a team. A shoot around usually goes for no longer than an hour, is light contact and focuses mostly on what the upcoming opponent is going to do.
So if the team were to have shoot around today at 11 a.m. Orlando time, it would feel like 8 a.m. Portland time. Not exactly the best time of day to retain important information. But by having shoot around the day before at 8 p.m. Orlando time (5 p.m. Portland), the team is awake, rested and ready to receive teaching. Seems smart to me.