How road trips can improve team chemistry

On the latest episode of "Strictly Hoops", C.J. Miles discusses how long road trips can help build team chemistry. Full episode is on the "Raptors Over Everything" podcast feed.

Video Transcript

AMIT MANN: Road trips. Have there been cases for you in your career where a road trip has actually helped catapult the team into future success in that season? Because that-- talked about that yesterday, too-- is that this is a perfect time for us to be on the road, right? A get-together. It's going to be us in games off the court, just hanging out. Have you encountered that before?

C.J. MILES: Yeah, because you look at it like-- where there's nowhere to run to. It's make-or-break time. And we're going to be together. It's going to be us. Like you said, just them on the road. I don't want to call it distractions because family and things aren't distractions.

But that's just less of a thing you have to split yourself into to do. So we just have more time to focus on it. On what we're doing. And to really drill into what we were doing. Film and taking care of the body, and being fresh, and getting time around each other.

Just kind of rekindling bonds and things, conversations that turn into basketball conversations. And allow us to hash out if there's anything that we feel like we need to hash out. Like if guys haven't been on the same page, being around each other, getting to hang out, talking, getting to understanding what's been going on.

Or if you have felt the guy hadn't been playing up to his potential, a conversation you might have at dinner might lead you to understanding why he hasn't been playing to his potential.

And now there's a way I can help him. There's no way to help him if I don't know what the problem is. Because that's the thing we keep talking about. We don't know what the problem is. I don't understand why guys don't want to play like they played last night because we know they can do it, right?

So let's figure out what everybody's feeling. Let's figure out how I can help this happen. If it is me that needs to take three less shots, or if I need to take five more shots, whatever it may be, let's figure out what that thing is.

If I'm the one that's not providing the energy in my unit that's not trying to help and turn the tide. Or let's make sure I'm not the one.

AMIT MANN: But that doesn't happen when you're at home? [CHUCKLES]

C.J. MILES: I don't-- I don't-- so I'm not saying that it doesn't. But it's easier to happen on a road trip like this. And I'm speaking very on the current pulse of this team also. Like the position that we're in. There's a heightened focus on we need to figure this out.

And I think it just allows more time to figure it out on a road like this. We're at home, we talk about it at practice, we're leaving, going home to my family. I'll see you tomorrow or I'll see you at shootaround, whatever it is.

On a road trip like this, you're trying to go get some lunch, trying to go get dinner, y'all I got my Xbox in my room, let's play cards, let's play dominoes, whatever. There's so much time to allow these things to naturally happen, when they don't feel like attacks.

Because everybody knows-- when guys aren't playing up to their potential-- they already know that. So coming from the outside, it feels like an attack. You get defensive. It's not on purpose. It's just, yo, I already know I haven't shot the ball well in five games. You don't have to tell me about the shots I'm missing.

AMIT MANN: Right. The guard's up a little bit.

C.J. MILES: Yeah. And now we get to talk, and that didn't-- that didn't come up for 20 minutes, and we happened to be watching the game and it's like, yo, oh I could have made an extra pass right there. And that lets the guard down. And I was like-- and then the next guy admits to a fault of his. Because that didn't start by attacking guys and telling them what they're doing wrong. It starts by admitting to what you're not doing.

AMIT MANN: Mm-hmm.

C.J. MILES: The honesty is what gives guys-- everybody else-- honest. Because they don't feel alone.

AMIT MANN: Yeah. The situation is kind of fragile. It's funny how this is working out, where this road trip-- the longest road trip the Raptors have this season, and also for like a few seasons, actually-- it's going right into the trade deadline. Like we're talking three-day difference. February 6th to get back, trade deadline is February 9th.

How does that feel for an athlete when you know-- we can say the names-- it's Fred and it's Gary, right? And there's OG as well. There's rumors around that. But we know for sure it's going to be-- they got to make decisions on Fred and Gary because they have player options. They're going to opt out for players like them for other players, too. Just how sensitive is this, right? Because you could be playing-- you lost, like, six games with the Raptors.

C.J. MILES: I would-- I mean, I would think it's better for it to be out there. That it's a possibility and things like that. Because now, I don't have to be this lingering thing in behind closed doors thinking like, man--

You know, like-- but now that it's out there, and everybody knows kind of what's going on, and seeing your name pop up in the stuff, that pops up in my social media, it doesn't throw you for a loop. Because you know it's a possibility.

And it's like, alright, I'm just going to control what I can control now, which is what I'm doing on the floor. And everything else that's going to happen is going to happen. Something's going to happen that's out of my control at some point.

But now that everybody knows it's a possibility, I know, front office knows, even the fans know, there's nothing except for me to act-- I don't have to act like, oh man. Like you gotta have this sadness of like-- it's just like alright, I know that could happen. That's-- I can't do anything about that right now, though.