NBA Playoff scheduling, with its minimum of one day of rest between games, has done wonders for LeBron James late in his career. The elimination of back-to-backs allows the 32-year-old to dedicate an entire day to recovery, and if his regular-season numbers after a day of rest this season are any indication, LeBron’s playoff opponents should be quivering.
Twenty-three of LeBron’s 42 double-doubles came after one day of rest this season, as did nine of his 13 triple-doubles. When he’s had a day off, he averages a full two assists more and half a rebound more per game. So it isn’t his scoring or his field goal percentage that improve. They largely remain the same and in some cases get even better in back-to-backs. But everything else improves. In sum, LeBron’s effect on the game is magnified when he has more time to let his body recover.
And as we know well, LeBron takes his recovery seriously. He installed a cryogenic chamber in his home, for Pete’s sake. And, thanks to teammate Richard Jefferson’s Snapchat, we now have a glimpse of LeBron’s recovery technique for the 2017 Playoffs.
Jefferson caught LeBron emerging from a nap in a hyperbaric chamber in the Cavs training room, but a quick snooze wasn’t the only thing the Cavs star did in there. LeBron took with him a cup of coffee, a bottle of Fiji water with lemons in it, and a copy of The Godfather in book form, a story he’s long related to when in the midst of a long playoff run.
Despite the Cavs’ regular-season struggles, videos like these should be reason enough to start writing in the Cleveland Cavaliers as the team that will (again) represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals. Giving LeBron James adequate time to recover will be deadly for his opponents.