As he prepared for basketball season in previous summers, E’Twaun Moore often viewed techniques like Pilates and yoga with a measure of skepticism. Like many young players, he barely needed to stretch before playing hours and hours of pickup hoops. Why go through a lengthy regimen of preparation, when you can just walk out onto the court and start playing?
Entering his seventh year in the NBA and now 28 years old, however, Moore has changed his mindset significantly. The Indiana native and former Purdue University star realizes that flexibility and stretching techniques are paramount in preparation for the long 82-game NBA season. As a result, he’s modified his offseason approach.
“This was pretty different,” the New Orleans guard said. “It’s my seventh year – you’ve got to take a little bit more care of your body. I hit the weights harder, did a lot of yoga, stretching, things like that. Other summers, I usually would just play a lot of basketball, but this year I tried to focus on my body a lot more.”
The 6-foot-4, 191-pounder has played 7,106 minutes in the NBA, including a career-high 1,820 in 2016-17, his first season with the Pelicans. After appearing in 73 games, New Orleans’ fifth-oldest roster member points out that every player must adjust his routine as he gets into his mid- and late-20s.
“Your body changes,” he said. “You have to change with it. If you keep doing the same things you did when you were 19 or 20, you won’t be as successful. As you get older, you’ve got to start eating healthier and do more Pilates, yoga. After playing 82 games, you’ve got to take care of your body. Because if you’re not healthy, you can’t accomplish anything.”
Moore’s emphasis on conditioning and body maintenance also springs from a year of experience playing under Alvin Gentry, whose teams rely on a fast-paced approach on offense. New Orleans ranked ninth in pace last season, averaging 100.09 possessions per 48 minutes, via NBA.com. Among the eight teams that placed ahead of the Pelicans in pace in 2016-17, six were Western Conference squads.
“With Coach Gentry, we want to play an up-tempo style, so getting my body in order, getting stronger, getting fit, and being able to play at a higher pace for a long period of time are all important,” Moore said. “In the West, we’ve got a lot of running teams.”
Techniques such as yoga have become much more popular around the NBA, including for Pelicans players, who do some form of yoga on a daily basis during the season. They’ve also incorporated it into voluntary workouts as they prepare for 2017-18. Moore sees it as part of the league’s increasing focus on body maintenance and improving recovery.
“At first I was like, ‘Why do I have to do all of this? Why do I have to stretch so much?’ ” Moore said of his initial view of yoga. “But as the years go on and you play a lot of games, you start getting sore and tight. I think it helps you recover faster, so you’re not as tired or as sore the next day. It also helps you become more explosive, by making your legs bouncier.
“You have to keep yourself fresh. Anything to help you gain an edge is worth doing.”