The morning shootaround is one of those things most NBA teams just do without wondering why they do it. It’s been done for years and it’s usually not too much hassle, so the tradition carries on.
Orlando Magic coach Jacque Vaughn is finally questioning that tradition. His team has not held shootarounds before its games this preseason and he plans to do away with them for good once the regular season starts, he told the Orlando Sentinel.
“Have I made a conscious effort to not have some shootarounds? Yes,” Vaughn told reporters Sunday. “And will that continue throughout the course of the year? Probably, yes. I took a scope of all the things that we did last year — what I liked, what I didn’t like, what I thought was efficient. And that’s what I’m about, efficiency.”
Shootarounds have been held for decades in the late mornings before games. The official reasoning is to allow players a chance to get some shots up and for coaches to go over final game plan details, but one of the main reasons is to keep night-owl players from being out all night and showing up to the arena groggy for the game. Most players show up for a brief workout, eat lunch and then nap until a few hours before gametime, getting extra shots up at the arena and hour or so before tip-off.
Instead of morning shootarounds, the Magic will hold afternoon sessions, which Vaughn thinks will help his players’ retention of the talking points he will provide.
This is an interesting change, particularly because the Magic are a young team that would figure to have some of the nightlife concerns for which shootarounds are held in the first place. Whether the Magic have shootarounds will not determine their success or failure this season — they are likely to stink either way — but it will be worth watching their energy and attention to detail early in games. If those areas really do seem improved, other teams around the league may copy Vaughn’s approach.