When the NBA announced that the rest of the 2020 season would be played in a bubble, it raised many questions because of the uniqueness of the situation and the unpredictableness of how it would turn out. Looking back at it, the NBA did an excellent job with the organization, even though some of the players were not fans of the bubble life. But on the other side, it was apparent some players thrived in that situation.
“It was just like we were just out there playing. I ain't gon' say no names, but they were some people on the other teams… I'm like, 'Hold on, they don't normally play like that.' Like he acting different in the bubble. I don't know cuz it was no fans there, but the environment there kinda like allowed you to play more freely.”
Jayson Tatum, NBA Central
Obviously, Tatum didn't want to give us the names, but it was apparent many players suddenly stepped up their game in the Orlando bubble. Some of the more obvious ones were T.J. Warren, Gary Trent Jr., and Jamal Murray. Most people seem to think Murray was the guy Tatum was thinking of.
The season has just started, so we don't have a large enough sample size, but it will be interesting to compare stats of players who exploded in the bubble and are underwhelming at the beginning of this season.
But the wild part is, the same could be said for some teams, as the Miami Heat came out of nowhere to win the Eastern Conference and take the Lakers to 6 games in the Finals. Tyler Herro agreed with Tatum on his statement, so he probably doesn't think the Heat or himself benefited from the bubble circumstances.
Now, what exactly helped or bothered certain players and teams is up to the individual quirks of each person or team, as it could have been several factors, stretching from the isolation from outside life, no fans in stands to no traveling. One is for sure, though. LeBron James and the Lakers were the best prepared and adapted for the restart, which ultimately led to championship banner number 17, and they look like the best team in the NBA right now.