What are your early thoughts on the NBA's new In Season Tournament?
NBA basketball is all about the quest for a championship. There are plenty of small victories along the way, but in the end if you don't win the title most fans are left bitter. Settling for a conference championship just means that you got as close as you could to getting that ring, but failed. Adding to the "win it all or who cares" sentiment the NBA rewards losing by giving those teams better draft picks to potentially add the piece to get you closer to a title.
For that reason, the vast majority of teams with little to no real chance of winning it all in a given season would rather tank than scratch their way into the play-in tournament. In European soccer they avoid tanking by relegating the worst teams to lower divisions, but the NBA has no such consequences.
Take the current Celtics for example. Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Al Horford have all made the Eastern Conference Finals multiple times as well as tasted the NBA Finals. Just making it to the conference finals last season was a disappointment. And the Celtics had home court advantage in that conference finals and still lost Game 7 at home. So what does the regular season really mean for these Celtics beyond making sure they remain healthy and fresh for the playoff run?
The In Season Tournament is supposed to bring excitement to early NBA season basketball. What are your initial thoughts? Has it? Or beyond the court designs and all the advertisements do the games seem just the same?
What would an In Season Tournament championship mean to the players of a team and it's fan base? Looking at the standings, my guess is if a team like the Pacers, Nets, Wolves, or Jazz won the tournament it would mean considerably more than if the Bucks or Celtics did. Boston Celtics live scores available at your fingertips.
The In Season Tournament was inspired by similar competitions in European soccer. I suppose how successful it will be will be decided on how important winning it is to NBA players and fans. The NBA All-Star game is more or less a joke with the majority of the players not caring if they win or lose. I love how in NCAA basketball there's a "Final Four" which actually means something (as opposed to just a champion and the losers).
Also in the NCAA every regular season game matters not just for a post season berth, but to attract the best recruits. Unlike in the NBA, you don't get rewarded for losing, so if you are a fan of a college team having a lousy season, you're still rooting for them to win those late season games and to do damage in your conference's post season tourney.
The NBA definitely has an issue with bringing the excitement during an 82 game regular season. Some have suggested shortening the regular season, but that will never happen due to the loss of revenue for players and owners, unless something else replaces it. Maybe the In Season Tournament ends up having more games in future seasons in place of the regular season schedule. But again it will come down to how much players and fans care about this tournament. So far how much do you care?