New prizes, new groups and tiebreaker madness: What’s next for the NBA’s in-season tourney-ZoomTech News

New prizes, new groups and tiebreaker madness: What’s next for the NBA’s in-season tourney-ZoomTech News


Regardless of the reward from league insiders, gamers and followers for the debut of the NBA’s in-season event, even its architect admitted it will not come again in precisely the identical format subsequent season.

“I wish to thank all the gamers within the league and the coaches, after all, the groups, for embracing this new idea,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver mentioned Saturday inside T-Cellular Enviornment earlier than the championship recreation between the Los Angeles Lakers and Indiana Pacers.

“I do know it would not come with out challenges. There is no doubt there’s some issues that we’re studying this time by. …

“In all probability persons are bored with listening to the phrase ‘tweak.’ So we’ll provide you with one other synonym for that.”

Whether or not Silver reaches for a thesaurus or not, the in-season event will evolve.

Here is a glance, by conversations with gamers, coaches and executives from throughout the league, at a number of issues that might change from this primary iteration of the occasion when it comes again round subsequent season, and past.


Will a workforce ever get one thing for successful the event?

Maybe the most important matter over the previous a number of weeks round potential modifications was the potential for including a reward for the championship workforce. The Lakers, as an example, dominated the event, successful all seven video games by greater than 19 factors per contest, however the rewards are restricted to the gamers and coaches incomes money prizes for his or her accomplishment.

Individuals across the league consider there needs to be some form of incentive given to groups for successful this event starting as quickly as subsequent season, connecting the event to followers past their groups successful video games and gamers and coaches getting cash.

“I do know for me personally, the cash incentive is actually cool,” Pacers middle Myles Turner mentioned. “However to have extra impression on the season itself … I believe that might be dope.”

Each Turner and Milwaukee Bucks guard Damian Lillard do not consider giving an computerized playoff berth to a workforce could be a logical factor to do.

“I am not saying like an computerized playoff bid,” Turner mentioned Wednesday throughout media day forward of the quarterfinals. “I do not suppose that is one thing you may actually simply ask for immediately.”

“I would not give someone a playoff spot based mostly off of this,” Lillard mentioned. “Loads of issues can change from now till playoff time.”

Whereas a top-6 berth was universally seen as a bridge too far amongst league insiders spoken to by ESPN, one concept that had extra assist was guaranteeing the winner of the event no less than the seventh spot, that means they might get two dwelling video games to earn their manner into the playoffs.

One pushback to that concept, although, is that it goes a bit in opposition to the concept of the play-in event, and what the league has executed by giving groups incentive to push by the top of the common season.

Turner proposed one other concept: Give the in-season event champion a small however doubtlessly vital benefit in postseason seeding.

“On the finish of the season,” Turner mentioned, “in the event you had a [tie] with someone, perhaps in the event you win this event, it doesn’t matter what you get an computerized tiebreaker.”

A number of others, together with Lakers coach Darvin Ham, proposed there be a draft-related incentive.

Evan Wasch, the NBA’s govt vice chairman of basketball technique and analytics, mentioned franchises have pushed for a team-based incentive, and it may very well be a part of subsequent yr’s occasion.

“Here is definitely a case we made that [a team-based incentive] is not crucial as a result of we had this actually high-quality competitors the place groups and gamers had been so purchased in and we did not have that incremental reward for groups,” Wasch instructed ESPN. “However there are definitely these groups which have voiced that they suppose there needs to be one thing incremental. Precisely what that’s, you recognize, is up for dialogue. However I think about that’ll be on the checklist of issues we focus on.”

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Will the money prizes enhance for gamers and coaches?

When Ham was requested final week for potential tweaks to the event, he did not hesitate.

“Yeah,” Ham mentioned Wednesday with a smile. “Add extra money to the purse. If you’d like gamers to play at a particularly excessive degree, enhance the purse.”

There’s little doubt the monetary incentives the league created — $500,000 for every participant on the successful workforce, $200,000 every for runners-up, $100,000 every for the semifinal losers and $50,000 every for the quarterfinal losers — performed an impression all through the event.

Event MVP LeBron James joked about his Lakers teammates asking him “When will we get our cash?” within the closing moments of Saturday’s championship recreation. What guys would do with their cash was a well-liked speaking level.

However New Orleans Pelicans star Brandon Ingram felt the chance to win one thing new was sufficient to deliver the most effective out of gamers.

“I am not shocked [guys have taken to the tournament], as a result of all people loves competing for one thing, particularly with all of the expertise that is within the league,” Ingram mentioned Wednesday. “You see how the Lakers got here out [in the quarterfinals] and the way Phoenix fought again in that second half.

“When the lights activate, guys simply begin competing.”


What about these new courtroom designs?

Whereas the event itself was extensively seen as successful, the identical can’t be mentioned of the courts used all through.

“I wish to see higher designs for the courts,” Lillard mentioned with a smile. “That is one factor.”

There have been plenty of complaints about gamers slipping on the courts all through the event — most notably from Boston Celtics star Jaylen Brown, who was upset after a highway win in opposition to the Toronto Raptors final month, when he practically received damage on one of many last performs of the sport.

“I believe as gamers we’re all right here for the in-season event as a result of it may generate income, pleasure, competitors, however we have got to verify the ground is protected to play on,” Brown instructed reporters on Nov. 17. “We will not put our gamers on the market and threat their well being.

“I believe they should ensure that’s the emphasis earlier than someone will get significantly damage.”

The Dallas Mavericks, for his or her half, by no means used their in-season event courts on account of a producing error, forcing the workforce to make use of their “core courtroom” for each of their dwelling video games.

Aesthetic points had been additionally current. Sure courts — particularly those who closely featured vivid reds and blues — had been troublesome to soak up on tv.

Silver mentioned groups will probably have extra enter on their designs subsequent season.

“I am an enormous advocate of the colourful courts,” Silver mentioned. “Clearly, we wish to ensure the gamers trust in them and the kind of paint used is not extra slippery. I believe we handled these points, by the way, however wish to ensure they aren’t a distraction.

“I believe within the course of we went by the primary time, they’re a bit cookie cutter. I like the courtroom we’re utilizing right here for the semifinals and last recreation, however I believe there may very well be some extra creativity.”

And for anybody considering the league would axe the courts fully, Wasch mentioned there “will all the time be one thing that might be put on the market to ensure that these video games stand out from common season video games.”


Will the NBA Cup title stick round?

The NBA is taking a wait-and-see strategy with all parts of this event, together with the names of the trophy and the teams the groups are positioned into.

However the larger query is across the title of the event itself, and the NBA Cup that’s handed out for successful it. Wasch mentioned earlier than the event started that issues had been left as plain as they may very well be, each to see how the debut performed out, and in addition to depart open the likelihood they may very well be renamed or offered to sponsors.

One other concept that’s been bandied about in league circles is naming the NBA Cup after late commissioner David Stern, Silver’s predecessor. Silver mentioned on Saturday that the league has struggled to seek out the correct technique to honor Stern’s legacy.

“We’re calling it a cup, not a trophy, however there’s additionally an MVP trophy, as as to if that needs to be one thing named after David,” Silver mentioned. “There are some who felt that it wasn’t large enough. … However I believe everybody within the NBA neighborhood desires to ensure that they’re enough to take note of the large quantity he contributed to the sport.”


Will the teams look totally different shifting ahead?

This yr, the league had 5 teams evenly drawn based mostly on final yr’s standings. Along with some confusion over group names (East Group A, West Group B and so forth), having five-team teams that weren’t the divisions groups sometimes play in made it awkward at occasions figuring out which groups had been through which teams.

That has led some league insiders to suggest having the teams be the divisions groups normally play in — this might additionally remedy the naming difficulty. Nevertheless, grouping by division would probably result in extra unbalanced teams and would additionally take away the draw as an occasion, one thing the league did to nice fanfare throughout the Las Vegas Summer season League in July.

However a much bigger criticism was that no less than one of many 5 groups in every group was executed enjoying earlier than the ultimate evening of group play, watching from dwelling whereas different groups had some management over their future. The Orlando Magic, as an example, misplaced out on advancing from East Group C whereas not enjoying on the ultimate evening.

“Definitely from a aggressive standpoint, it is extra optimum and in some circumstances extra honest to have all people enjoying,” Wasch mentioned.

As soon as the league inevitably expands to 32 groups within the subsequent few years, a simple resolution to this downside could be to match the FIBA World Cup format, and have eight teams of 4 groups.

Till that occurs, may the league shift to 5 six-team teams?

Doing so would permit for an additional group stage recreation and for 3 wild-card groups, doubtlessly giving extra paths to higher groups to advance.

It will additionally add extra issues to the schedule, as it could require teams to incorporate each Jap and Western Convention groups, and would make an already difficult scheduling equation even trickier.

“We thought rather a lot about this stuff and tried to stability as finest we may,” Wasch mentioned, “and that is the place we netted out.”


Will the purpose differential tiebreaker stick round?

In just about each basketball competitors outdoors North America, and in each worldwide competitors, level differential is a typical tiebreaker.

It’s not within the NBA, which led to some awkward moments and damage emotions throughout the group stage of the competitors, akin to when Chicago Bulls star DeMar DeRozan was ejected in opposition to Toronto and teammate Andre Drummond was deliberately fouled to pressure him to shoot free throws as Boston appeared to run up the rating.

“I am not prepared essentially to maneuver away from it, but when in the end there’s going to be a way, significantly from our American followers, that one way or the other it is a sign of poor sportsmanship, that is not a good suggestion for us to be doing it,” Silver mentioned of the purpose differential tiebreaker.

Some all through the league prompt capping a workforce’s level differential or counting quarters received to remove a few of the extra contentious moments that came about throughout the group stage.

Alternatively, the ultimate evening of the group stage was stuffed with blowouts, however remained compelling as a result of the video games mattered proper all the way down to the very finish.

Wasch mentioned the league has already mentioned making a stay standings graphic so followers at dwelling can see in real-time what’s occurring throughout the league with out having to attempt to monitor each recreation without delay.

“I believe we are able to do a greater job educating on these issues,” Wasch mentioned. “[A live standings graphic] would assist you to monitor throughout video games with out having to have all of them on, or be doing math in your head.”


Will the schedule look totally different?

There turned a rhythm to the schedule in November. Event video games being performed on Tuesdays and Fridays helped with each promotion (by having them linked to nationwide TV days) and publicity (by not competing with the NFL).

“You type of know it is a event recreation,” James mentioned Wednesday.

The league received the Saturday evening standalone championship recreation it wished, nevertheless it required two semifinals on Thursday, together with one at 2 p.m. native time in Las Vegas.

What received much less consideration, nevertheless, was what occurred with the 26 groups that did not make it to Las Vegas, and the last-second video games that received thrust onto their respective calendars. Groups across the league weren’t thrilled concerning the logistical challenges that went into promoting tickets and scheduling journey.

“I wish to ensure we’re being honest to them, their season-ticket holders,” Silver mentioned “In some circumstances, the flexibility to promote tickets on quick turnaround. So we’re that information to see how a lot it affected their gate attendance.”

Addressing that might be troublesome with out making a considerably larger hole between the top of the group stage and the beginning of the quarterfinals.

There additionally had been some inherent inequalities in how these video games performed out. The Knicks, for instance, wound up with 40 dwelling video games and 42 highway video games, and a few very troublesome highway video games — in Milwaukee and in Boston — that resulted in losses.

“No matter your circumstances are, you make the most effective of them,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau mentioned forward of the knockout rounds. “They inform us we’ve to play this workforce 5 occasions, we play them 5 occasions.

“Generally [the schedule] is in your favor. Generally it is not. Simply be able to play. That is the place we would like the main focus to be.”


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