‣ The NBA In-Season tournament is set to start with a seven-game thriller, with six group winners qualifying for the quarter-finals.
‣ The championship game will be played on December 9 and the 67 contests played in the competition will count in the regular-season standings.
‣ Some players and coaches have expressed doubt or lack of excitement about the tournament, but others see it as a competitive outlet and a way to spark more competition.
THE FIRST-EVER NBA IN-SEASON TOURNAMENT TIPS OFF TONIGHT 🔥
Cavs vs. Pacers
Knicks vs. Bucks
Wizards vs. Heat
Nets vs. Bulls
Warriors vs. Thunder
Mavs vs. Nuggets
Grizzlies vs. Blazers
7 GAME SLATE 🍿
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport)
The NBA’s highly anticipated In-Season tournament is finally here, set to kick off this Friday with a thrilling seven-game lineup. Thirty teams have been divided into six groups, with each team playing four games to determine the group winners who will advance to the quarter-finals in December. The four remaining teams will then compete in Las Vegas for the semi-finals, culminating in the championship game on December 9. Importantly, the 67 games played in the tournament will count towards the regular-season standings.
While the tournament has generated excitement among fans, not everyone within the league shares the same sentiment. Marcus Smart, guard for the Grizzlies, recently expressed his indifference, stating, “Being completely honest, nobody cares about it. It’s the big one that we care about.” However, coaches like Gregg Popovich see it as an additional competitive outlet that can offer insights into teams’ potential performance in the playoffs. Popovich claims, “All these guys are very competitive… if you put something out there like this, it just adds to that competitiveness and really signals what might happen toward the end of the season.”
Coach Erik Spoelstra remains open to the tournament despite having some doubts. Reflecting on the success of the Play-In tournament, he acknowledges the league’s need to continually evolve and believes that increased competition can only benefit the sport. The NBA has made efforts to entice teams and fans into embracing the In-Season tournament by offering substantial cash prizes. The championship team can win a reported $500,000 per player, while quarter-finalists are eligible for prizes ranging from $50,000 to $200,000.
The allure of such large cash incentives has convinced some players that the In-Season tournament is worth their full effort. Damian Lillard, guard for the Bucks, sees the tournament as an opportunity to not only win a prize individually but also support his fellow two-way players. Lillard explains, “As somebody who has built relationships with a lot of those guys over the course of my career, I would love that. To not only be able to win it but to say, ‘We looked out for our guys.'”
In conclusion, the NBA’s In-Season tournament presents a novel experiment that has generated excitement among fans. Coaches hope it will provide insights into teams’ potential playoff performances, while players are enticed by the monetary rewards and the opportunity to support their teammates. While not everyone is onboard, the tournament has the potential to add another level of competition and evolve the game. Only time will tell if the In-Season tournament becomes a lasting tradition in the NBA.