Today: Jun 25, 2024

Column- On the NBA

Luke Gadson – Sports Editor

Many viewers were confused while watching the National Basketball Association, NBA, games last Friday. This confusion was likely furthered by broadcasters mentioning that this was an “In-Season Tournament game” since many were unaware of the new terminology.  

Even those fans who have heard of the new In-Season Tournament were left scratching their heads because they still are not aware of the specifics of the NBA In-Season Tournament. 

The NBA In-Season Tournament is a brand-new competition that takes place during the regular season. In June 2023, the National Basketball Players Association and the league approved a collective bargaining agreement about the tournament’s format. 

Six groups of five teams each were formed from the 30 NBA franchises. Each team will play the others within their group once.  

Following that, eight teams will move on to compete in a single elimination tournament. The team in each group with the best record will advance along with the team from each conference with the best record that finished second in its group. 

The NBA Cup will be awarded to the winner of the championship game that follows the single elimination stage. 

The groups within the conference were split up based on each team’s regular season record from the 2022 season. The teams with the top three conference records were in the first group, followed by the teams with the fourth, fifth and sixth best records in the second, and so on. 

With the exception of the championship, which takes place outside of the regular season, all In-Season Tournament games are treated as regular season games in the standings.  

The 22 teams who do not advance to the single elimination phase will play two extra games on Dec. 6 and Dec. 8 in order to guarantee that every team plays exactly 82 games in the regular season. On Dec. 8, the four teams eliminated from the tournament quarterfinals will play one last regular season game against the other team in their conference. 

With 82 games spread over almost six months, the NBA regular season is lengthy. More games than not in recent seasons, superstars have been sitting out of games.  

Since an eighth seed qualified for the finals the previous season, playoff performances seem less and less connected to regular season results. The NBA In-Season Tournament will spice up the regular season, drawing more viewers who would normally be watching football games otherwise. 

Money is another factor. After the 2024 season, the NBA’s media rights agreements with ESPN and TNT will expire. A successful debut of the In-Season Tournament would provide the league with another selling point when negotiating with new partners.  

“The In-Season Tournament will add must-win games in the early part of our season while creating something new and different for fan bases to celebrate and rally around.” said NBA Executive and Vice President of Basketball Strategy & Analytics Evan Wasch.  

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