Markus Spiske

The NBA just introduced an in season tournament on Saturday during the NBA 2K Summer League. And commissioner Adam Silver, has been concocting this idea for many years, some say as many as 15 years. 

The NBA Cup is what the tourney will be called. Therefore, in this article, I will explain how it works. But more importantly, I’ll explain what the NBA is thinking, and why this in season tournament was created.

There are 30 NBA teams; those teams were divided in six, five team groups. There are three groups in each conference. 

If you’ve seen the World Cup there’s a drawing process that’s public, that the audience sees and gets people excited about the drawing. The NBA adopted this, and had its drawing on Saturday.

There’s a formula to how the groups are formulated, but for now that’s not that important, and it’s a little confusing and boring, so we will skip that portion of this for now.  So all thirty teams were six groups. Group play will be regular season games played on November 3rd, 10th, 14th, 17th, 21st, 24th, and 28th. Tuesdays and Fridays.  The teams that win their groups and the best team in a conference to not win a group all advance to a Quarterfinals. 

The quarters will be played December 4th and 5th at the home courts of the higher seeded teams. The semifinalists will all travel to Las Vegas to the T-Mobile arena to play the semifinal games on December 7th.  The final of the NBA cup will be December 9th.  The finalists will be one team from each conference pitting a Western Conference team versus an Eastern Conference team like the NBA finals.

Now the most important thing to glean from this, why is the NBA doing this?  

  1. The NBA season starts in late October, early November every year but most fans don’t really start to pay attention until after Christmas or some fans don’t care until the playoffs start approaching, this gives the NBA relevance before Christmas.
  2. If you have a favorite team that’s not really a championship contender, this gives your team an opportunity to play in meaningful regular season games and win something.
  3. Fourteen of the group play games will be played on National television, and all of the Knockout round games will be nationally televised.  That means some regular season nationally televised games will hopefully get more viewers, and have more relevance, which will be a revenue generator for all of the NBA’s television and streaming partners.
  4. Load management.  Many fans have complained about players taking off and sitting out games (despite being healthy) during the regular season, and for years most say that the regular season is irrelevant and that there are too many games. Now with the in season tournament this gives a reason for players who might normally sit out a reason to play in what would have been meaningless regular games.

I like that these are regular season games that count towards teams regular standings, (outside of the championship game), so it’s not like a stoppage of the regular season to play a separate tournament like the World Baseball Classic or the Winter Olympics for Hockey.

Would love to hear your thoughts tweet me @MrRobAnthony?

 (57) NBA cup explained – YouTube An explanation in video form.

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