ORIGINAL: Karl Juhnke
I just read an explanation of the in-season tournament. It makes more sense to me now…not that I think it’s good or bad. Time will decide that.
Here’s a summary. Saves you the trouble if you don’t know. Just skip it if you do:
There are two stages. Group play and knockout round. Each conference is divided into 3 groups of 5. In group play they will each play each other once. Each team gets two home and two away.
The winner of each group along with one wild card from each conference will advance to the knockout rounds. The semi finals and championship are played in Las Vegas.
The games count as part of the 82 game season for stats and standings. Except the championship which stands alone as an 83rd game. Teams not making the knockout round will get two additional games added to their schedule (though the article didn’t say how or when). Presumably losers in the first round of elimination will get one game added.
The winner will be awarded an NBA Cup. The tournament has no bearing on post season, other than how the games affect the standings.
So that’s it you may ask? Why should players care? That was my main question. The answer is money. There is a sizable prize pool. From $50,000 each to players on teams eliminated in quarterfinals, up to $500,000 each for winning the championship. Coaches earn the same amounts too. That’s pretty good money especially for players on minimum contracts.
Hopefully, if they continue with this, they will tweak some things. I wouldn't at all be opposed to the winner of the in-season tournament getting the #2 to #5 pick in the draft.
I'm still not clear what the NBA's motivation was to do this, but I guess we will probably see fewer players sitting out for rest/recovery/conditioning/illness.
The NBA is always blabbing about its global appeal and identity, and now they can boast of having a "tournament", a "knockout round", and a "Cup".