Monday 22nd April 2024,
The Hoop Doctors

NBA’s Idea of a Mid-Season Tournament is a Good One and Here’s Why

midseasonryVeteran NBA.com reporter Steve Aschburner reported Wednesday that one of the changes new NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is considering this off-season is the idea of a mid-season tournament in Las Vegas.

Here is the excerpt from Aschburner’s column on NBA.com:

“The popularity of the summer league in Las Vegas – with attendance up 25 percent, Silver said – has the league open to ideas for a greater role in the nation’s gambling capital. One possibility, mentioned without details as a brainstorm from the competition committee: A midseason tournament of some sort.”

Silver is already proving to be a much more forward thinking and experimental commissioner than his predecessor David Stern (which is a much welcome change).

The idea of having a mid-season tournament akin to what takes place in many popular soccer leagues around the world such as the Premier League is foreign (literally and figuratively) to American professional sports leagues and fans and at first glance seems useless.

I personally believe a mid-season tournament in Las Vegas has the potential to be a huge hit for the league and can help deter teams from tanking if done the right way.

So Adam Silver if you’re listening, here is my idea of how to maximize the idea of a midseason tournament and inject some life into dog days that are the middle of the NBA season, when few fans are passionately engaged with what is going on.

Reduce the NBA regular season to 71 games:

Why 71 games you ask? Let’s break it down:
•Everybody plays the other 29 teams in the NBA at least twice, once at home and once away which equals 58 games
•Every NBA team plays the other four teams in their division four times a season which adds up to 66 games
•Every NBA team plays the team from the other five divisions who finished the previous season in the same place in their division as they did adding five more games. For instance: The Spurs finished in first place in the Southwest division so they would play the Clippers, Thunder, Pacers, Heat and Raptors three times next season instead of two.

This all adds up to 71 games for each team and allows the NBA to effectively incorporate a mid-season tournament and shortening the season in the process, thereby taking away a little wear and tear from players.

Hold the tournament from December 26th to January 3rd

This way the NBA can capitalize and take ownership of the brief lull in the holiday sports when all sports fans are treated to are subpar bowl games and limited intrigue in the final week of the NFL regular season. This is could be a nice sweet spot for the NBA to garner big ratings during the holiday season when TV viewership is up and keep interest up during the middle of the NBA season right before the NFL Playoffs dominates TV viewership throughout January.

Having this tournament the last week of December allows the league to build upon the brief momentum of their marquee games on Christmas Day. You can set it up where every team has played exactly 30 games as of December 25th, as most teams are right around thhe 30-game mark around that time of the season anyway. This also prevents an interference with the league’s annual All-Star Weekend in February, which is the only other logical time to hold this tournament.

Have the tournament be a 16-team bracket with the eight worst teams in the Western and Eastern conference as of December 25th and grant the winner of the tournament the number one pick in the upcoming NBA Draft

You can set the matchups where the 8-seed in the West as of December 25th plays the 15-seed in the East and the vice versa where the 8-seed in the East plays the 15-seed in the West and on down the line.

The top seven seeds in the Western and Eastern conference as of December 25th can use this eight to ten day break as a de-facto bye week to rest up during the middle of the season. This would be a welcome break for veteran teams and players who want to spend the rest of the holiday season with their family. Not to mention many of these top 14 teams will be naturally be playing as a part of the NBA’s traditional Christmas Day slate of games as well.

This could be a win-win for all 30 teams in the NBA.

Here is an example of what last year’s bracket would have looked like:

2013-14 NBA Midseason Tournament

Here's is what last year's tournament would have looked like in Las Vegas

Here’s is what last year’s tournament would have looked like

Although it’s hard to project who would have won this tournament because many of the better teams involved such as the Warriors, Raptors and Bulls, were actually struggling at the time of the hypothetical tournament, let’s for fun say the Warriors won and what the implications would have been.

If we lived in a world where the Warriors had the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft there are two potential scenarios that could have played out…

Scenario 1: The Warriors draft Joel Embiid regardless of injury issues

It would make sense for a team as good as the Warriors to be willing to take a chance on Embiid, especially considering his vast potential and the fact that he would conceivably be able to fill the Warriors biggest need down the road which is an athletic young shot blocking presence to protect the paint. It would also be insurance for oft injured and declining center Andrew Bogut.

Scenario 2: The Warriors draft Wiggins and use him as part of a package for Kevin Love

This would completely blow up the whole three-way Love triangle (literally) going on between the Timberwolves, Cavaliers and Warriors in the Kevin Love sweepstakes and allow the Warriors to easily convince the T’Wolves to trade them Kevin Love without breaking up the Splash Brothers. Not to mention in this hypothetical world Lebron may still be in Miami and we wouldn’t have this…

There is one final change that would need to occur for this midseason tournament to be inserted effectively.

Change the lottery to include determining who gets picks 2 through 6

This way the league can adjust to the number one pick no longer being a part of the lottery drawing, still add even more intrigue to the lottery and further deter teams from tanking. After picks two through six are determined the rest of the lottery selections picks seven to 14 or 15 (depending on if the team who wins the number one pick in the mid-season tournament makes the postseason) will be in order by worst record during the regular season. I have a feeling this almost completely eliminate the possibility of teams truly tanking in the NBA and create a more competitive league and better on court product for fans in some cities.

So there you have it, one idea to make the NBA’s idea of a mid-season tournament actually mean something, deter tanking and add some excitement to middle of the NBA’s long and at times boring regular season.

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