Is It Time For NBA Players To Hit The Books?

Jay MitchellContributor IMarch 25, 2009

BEIJING - AUGUST 24:  (L-R)  Deron Williams #7, Chris Bosh #12, Carlos Boozer #4, Le Bron James #6 and Jason Kidd #5 of the United States pose for photos with head coach Mike Krzyzewski after defeating Spain in the gold medal game during Day 16 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games at the Beijing Olympic Basketball Gymnasium on August 24, 2008 in Beijing, China.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Currently eight teams in the NBA have a winning record on the road.

Yes, eight.

Anybody know how many teams are in the NBA?

That’s right—30.

That means that just a hair above 25 percent of the teams in the NBA have a winning percentage on the road.

What gives?

You will hear most athletes attribute poor road performances to the lack of mental toughness.

Care to guess what the average salary of a NBA player was in the 2007-2008 season?

$5.356 million.

You are making over $5 million a year and you don’t have enough mental toughness to win a game away from your home court on a consistent basis? 

Maybe the NBA was on to something when they raised the age limit to 19 years old, one year removed from high school. 

Maybe they should require a degree in psychology, so the players can gain some of the mental toughness they are supposedly lacking.

The top college basketball teams in the nation tend to have better road records than some of the top teams in the NBA. 

Does the fact that they are in school stimulating their brain, instead of wondering how they can blow their $5 million have something to do with this better winning percentage?  

I can’t give you a concrete answer, but it’s possible isn’t it?

Maybe NBA teams should hire a motivational speaker, psychologist, or mental toughness coach, instead of having four assistant coaches. 

Perhaps the teams should hire their own psychology professor. 

Heck, maybe teams can record their home crowds and play the recording from their bench during away games to give them some emotional support.

I don’t know the answer, but obviously something has to be done.

Should horrible teams ever beat the elite teams? 

I mean, should the Kings ever beat the Nuggets, Mavericks, Lakers, and Hornets? 

Should the Wizards ever beat the Jazz, Rockets, and Cavaliers? 

Should the Grizzlies ever beat the Magic, Rockets (twice), and the Mavericks? 

Now obviously every good team is bound to have a bad game every now and then. 

Likewise, every bad team is bound to have a good game every once in a blue moon.  That still doesn’t explain how only eight teams have a winning percentage on the road. 

Yes, I know that when you’re playing at home you have the crowd on your side, which is often called the “sixth man”. 

Should playing on the road really make that big of a difference to a good team though? 

Currently there are seven teams with an overall winning record, but they have a losing record on the road. 

Some teams, such as the Jazz, can be completely dominant at home, but only beat on teams with a winning record on the road. 

Obviously not every team can have a winning record on the road, but you would think that with the major talent disparity that exists among the best and the worst teams that you would see more teams succeed on the road. 

If any of you reading this are psychologists or psychology professors and are struggling to find clients during these economic times, maybe you should try selling your services to some NBA teams. 

Apparently there is a large need for you out there.

To all you players, time to hit the books.  The psychology books.