Sleep matters, Whiteside says — it matters a lot. It “could be the difference between you having a career game or playing terrible.” But therein lies the conundrum of NBA life. For something so important, it’s remarkably elusive. As Whiteside says: “It’s just so hard to get the sleep that you need.” To fight back, he says he hopes to grab a few hours of sleep on the plane to Houston. He hopes the hotel bed there is OK, though that’s never a guarantee. He hopes the melatonin he often takes will help him snooze, though that isn’t easy after games. But even with that, is it possible within the current NBA schedule to obtain consistent, quality sleep? “Nah,” Whiteside says. “It’s impossible. It’s impossible.”
But the new additions to Portland’s 2019-20 roster seem to be making the adjustment to life in the Pacific Northwest with aplomb. All had been to Portland many times before with their previous teams, so they were all aware of what the city is like from a forecast perspective between October and April, but so far, they’ve got nothing but good things to say about the weather. “It’s been really great, to be honest,” said Pau Gasol, a native of Barcelona who spent more than six years playing for the Lakers in Los Angeles. “I’ve really enjoyed it. A lot of people spoke very highly of it. I didn’t get a chance to really know what Portland is because when you come in, you’re in and out, hotel, maybe go to dinner here and there and that’s fine, but you stay within a mile, two mile radius. So now, I’m getting a chance to kind of venture, see the city from a different angle and really explore the beauty of Portland and Oregon as well.”