We all know about the NCAA Tournament, Jeopardy’s Tournament of Champions, and former Sixers head coach Brett Brown’s quiet tournaments. But now, a new tournament looks to be coming into our lives: an NBA In-Season Tournament. The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported details about the latest development, which looks set for the 2023-24 season:
Current framework of NBA In Season Tournament as soon as 2023-24, per sources:— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) September 9, 2022
- Cup games through November
- 8 teams advance to single-elimination Final in December; other 22 continue with regular season
- All games part of normal 82-game schedule; one extra for two Final teams
The NBA and NBPA are still working to finalize the In Season Tournament concept, which includes to-be-determined prizes for the eight teams that advance to the single-elimination round, sources said. https://t.co/j5Sr54WUEJ— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) September 9, 2022
On the one hand, I understand the reasoning why someone would think this is dumb and be overly cynical about it. It’s a readily transparent way for the league to try and gin up excitement during a long regular season with the ultimate goal of generating more $$$ for all stakeholders involved.
However, I’m going to take what might be the minority opinion and say I think it’s cool. The NBA regular season is long and a lot of people do tend to tune out for a while (not you, reading this blog post about the NBA in September, but other people). Maybe this tournament draws a few back in and generates more conversation around the league, which is always good.
Plus, I just kind of dig quirky little things like this. I enjoyed when the Sixers were bad but we all took a bunch of pride in Philadelphia being Orlando Summer League Champions. I hope someone like Sacramento gets to the final eight and unexpectedly rips off three straight wins to be crowned In-Season Champions. Hang that banner, Kings! Whatever happens, the memes will follow and I’m here for them.
Ultimately, there’s not really a downside. Aside from the two teams in the Final, players aren’t being subjected to any more games than normal, so there are no load management concerns. You may think the whole thing is somewhat corny or pointless, but would you rather watch the Sixers playing Chicago in early December or “Sixers vs. Bulls, 2022 In-Season Tournament Quarterfinal”? Maybe as this whole thing approaches the end, the extra prize pool becomes more tangible in players’ minds and they kick it into another gear like we see in the last five minutes of the All-Star Game. Whatever might ratchet things up to a playoff intensity for even a game or two in early December is worth a try in my book.
We may not get the parade down Broad Street for an In-Season Tournament title, but a quick lap around the Naval Yard concluding back at Xfinity Live! could be fun too. Let’s get weird.