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The student news site of Brimmer and May School | Chestnut Hill, MA

The Gator

The student news site of Brimmer and May School | Chestnut Hill, MA

The Gator

Lackluster Execution Sinks NBA Cup

Sports leagues are always trying to find ways to evolve, and while at first, these additions may look exciting, most of them fall short of the lofty expectations.
Basketball+going+into+a+net.+
Wikimedia Commons
Basketball going into a net.

Sports leagues are always trying to find ways to evolve, and while at first, these additions may look exciting, most of them fall short of the lofty expectations.

On July 8, 2023, the National Basketball Association (NBA)  shocked the sports world by announcing that a midseason tournament would be added to the league’s regular season. All of the NBA’s 30 teams are split into three groups per conference, consisting of five teams per group. 

While in-season tournaments featured good quality games thus far, where is the importance on a random January night or in the playoffs? 

On November 3, 2023, the NBA in-season tournament began as all of the teams played four group games on designated nights, two being at home and two being on the road.  

The next stage of the tournament is the single-elimination knockout round, which consists of six teams and two wild cards. These elimination games will be played in Las Vegas on December 4 and 5. 

The qualifying teams will compete for a prize pool and the NBA Cup, the tournament’s trophy. The players on the team that wins will each get $500,000, while the runners-up will get $200,000. The losing players of the semifinals will each get $100,000, and the losing players of the quarterfinals will each get $50,000. Each team will play 67 in-season tournament games, which do not include the in-season tournament championship.

NBA Cup
Eastern Group A

Atlanta Hawks

Cleveland Cavaliers

Detroit Pistons

Indiana Pacers

Philadelphia 76ers

 

Eastern Group B

Charlotte Hornets

Miami Heat

Milwaukee Bucks

New York Knicks

Washington Wizards

Eastern Group C

Boston Celtics

Brooklyn Nets

Chicago Bulls

Orlando Magic

Toronto Raptors

Western Group A

Los Angeles Lakers

Memphis Grizzlies

Phoenix Suns

Portland Trail Blazers

Utah Jazz

Western Group B

Dallas Mavericks

Denver Nuggets

Houston Rockets

Los Angeles Clippers

New Orleans Pelicans

Western Group C

Golden State Warriors

Minnesota Timberwolves

Oklahoma City Thunder

Sacramento Kings

San Antonio Spurs

The NBA in-season tournament is a transformative idea, but it was executed poorly. The aspect of the tournament that I have the most issues with is the prize. 

The top cash prize is only one-fourth of an NBA veteran’s minimum contract. And for superstars players, their contracts range from $30 to 40 million. If the NBA is trying to give star players an incentive to play in these in season tournament games, the 500,000 prize will not do much to have these star players play in the tournament games. 

Instead, the winning team should clinch a first-round playoff bye or secure a playoff spot. 

Moreover, the NBA could change the number of home-court games in the playoffs from four games to five games. This would give players on the teams a reason to play in the in-season tournament games because teams have an advantage when playing at home in the playoffs. NBA teams typically play better at home, as they win 62.7 percent of their home games due to the energy in the arena from fans and the lack of travel. 

The NBA in-season tournament offers a unique way to raise the stakes in the NBA, but the flaws in the tournament could backfire as the tournament doesn’t add much meaning to the league. It will be interesting to see how the tournament progresses, and how they build on it in the coming years. 

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About the Contributor
Gabe Cohen
Gabe Cohen, Co-Sports Editor
Gabe is a journalist for The Gator. He enjoys playing basketball and keeping up with different sports. He also loves to listen to music and make videos for his YouTube.

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