Today: Jun 19, 2024

Opinion: NBA launches new format

Jaylen Carr – Editor-in-Chief

It’s the inaugural season of the National Basketball Association, NBA “In-Season Tournament”, where the league breaks teams up into groups or mini divisions to compete with each other.  

When the NBA announced they would have a tournament during the regular season, it surprised most fans. Having a competitive tournament just so the players can take the regular season seriously is a new low for the NBA. Star players have been frequently taking games off and playing less than 50 games a season, thus ushering in the “In-Season Tournament”.  

As a fan of the NBA since I was a kid, star players always played because they knew fans paid to see them. It was a badge of honor in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s to say that you played 82 games or at least 70 games in a season.  

The new invention of an “In-Season Tournament” focuses on having regular season games mean more and, of course, bring in revenue.  

The more eyes on the sport, the better for NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, especially during November and December when most sports fans watch the National Football League, NFL and College Football. 

“We think, and taking nothing away whatsoever from the Larry O’Brien Trophy and the ultimate goal of winning a championship, that you can create another competition within the season that becomes meaningful,” Silver said in a Sports Illustrated article.  

Silver’s idea derives from professional soccer, which has in-season tournaments to increase competition, like the Union of European Football Association, UEFA Champions League.   

When first hearing about the tournament, my initial thought was: what are the incentives for the players, coaches and the organizations? 

“The players on the winning team will each get $500,000, while the runners-up will get $200,000. The losing players of the semifinals will each get $100,000, and the losing players of the quarterfinals will each get $50,000,” according to ESPN. The league will also hand a trophy to the winner, dubbed the “NBA Cup.” 

The NBA could have done a much better job explaining this tournament because media outlets were the ones explaining what it meant and why it was happening throughout the past couple of weeks to assure viewers knew the significance of the games.  

If 82 games is too long for the players, how about shortening the season to 65 games? This would ensure that star players play most of the games. If the season is compressed, it can ensure that every game is meaningful.  

With the hopes of having a high seed in the conference, shortening the season will make each game valuable for the players. The incentive would be to win as many games as possible to avoid the 7-1o spots in their respective conference, eastern and western.  

All eyes will be on the “In-Season Tournament” when the competition culminates on Dec. 9 in Las Vegas, where there is no current NBA team.  

Can this be a sign from the NBA? With Las Vegas becoming a popular city for the location and relocation of professional sports teams like the Las Vegas Raiders and Aces, could a professional basketball team be next? 

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