ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — I’ve spent a large portion of my life in NBA locker rooms and around NBA players. I’ve also spent a large portion of my life eating, so if anyone is qualified to, ahem, weigh in on this next story, it’s probably me.
At the beginning of December, Nuggets coach Brian Shaw was searching for an excuse for the Nuggets consistently getting off to slow starts in games. According to this story, filed about a week after the incident, Shaw came through the locker room before a game and saw the players indulging in what some may consider an unhealthy diet. So he banned it.
Last week, he walked through the locker room, saw players eating pizza and nachos and believed the poor diet to be the cause. So he picked up all the junk food and threw it in the trash.
The Nuggets had fresh salads with chicken breast and cold cut sandwiches before Monday’s game. The sluggish result was the same.
So what we learn from this is that eating poorly before games was not the reason the Nuggets were starting games poorly. I’ve been in hundreds of NBA locker rooms before games, and if I had to pick the pregame meal I’ve seen consumed most often, it would probably be chicken fingers. I believe this is because while teams often have large (and nominally healthy) meals catered following games, before games players usually have to send a ballboy to a concession stand to get them food, and chicken fingers are sold in almost every arena around the league.
(Granted, pizza and nachos are probably even less healthy than chicken fingers, I think? Not sure. I better eat all three to find out.)
Bigger picture, however, this has not been a fruitful move for the Nuggets. As the sleuths at Reddit did the detective work, the Nuggets have been in a tailspin since Shaw turned into Richard Simmons. From Reddit’s deductions, the Nuggets have gone 1-8 since going healthy.
Now sure, part of that might be because they played some tough opponents over that stretch (Miami, Golden State, Oklahoma City, etc.), but there definitely seems like a pretty clear line between pizza and nachos and losing.
The only obvious solution: A pregame pizza and nachos feast before the next game. And if they lose that one, just ban food altogether.