The Cleveland Cavaliers shocked many within the League during a resurgent 2021-22 regular season. They finished 44-38 and earned a spot in the Play-In tournament, ultimately losing both their tournament games to the Brooklyn Nets and Atlanta Hawks.
The sudden rise could certainly be attributed to the All-Star campaigns of Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen and the outstanding play of rookie big man Evan Mobley and a top-5 defense, but the longest-tenured vet Kevin Love, who finished the season as a finalist for the Sixth Man of the Year award, noted that team therapy played a significant role in the team gelling well and helping them to focus.
According to Insider, Love told his teammates that they should work with the therapist in question, Mayur Pandya. Love also credits Pandya with helping improve his and his teammates’ game overall, at least from a mental standpoint.
“Boosting mental performance and resilience is the reason we are here today,” Love said, “We’re all much better for it and having these conversations, and having Dr. Pandya taking the time, and for the organization understanding that it’s important.”
Pandya has been with the Cavs since the 2018-19 season, but his services weren’t highly sought after according to Love, at least not until this year.
Love said his teammates grew more comfortable with going to a therapist after DeMar DeRozan opened up about his battles with mental health last June, with his Instagram post serving as the catalyst for mental-health treatment becoming normal for NBA players.
Pandya worked with the Cavs individually and in group sessions per Love, with groups being split up into two groups featuring vets and younger players in both groups. The two groups used meditation and therapy to help players sharpen their mental focus, resilience, and chemistry.
“Everybody has their own journey and mental-health journey, but we’re not meant to go through this alone,” Love said. “Having diversity within our group, how we grew up, where we were born, socioeconomic status, wherever we may be, I think there’s a lot of problem-solving there.”
Love said meditation and therapy helped the players sharpen their mental focus, resilience, and chemistry. Love said he discovered meditation in 2017 when the James-led Cavaliers were in the middle of four straight seasons in which they made it to the NBA Finals.