Here's What an In-Season Tournament Would Look Like If the NBA Had Their Way

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Here’s What an In-Season Tournament Would Look Like If the NBA Had Their Way

Chicago Bulls

The NBA’s dream of an In-Season Tournament might finally become a reality.

According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the NBA now has an idea of how they would like to structure this new addition to the league calendar. Teams would reportedly face off in the month of November to determine which eight squads head to a single-elimination final in December.

Unsurprisingly, Charania reports that all matches would be considered part of the overall 82-game regular season schedule. Only the two final teams competing for the tournament trophy would technically play an extra game.

The plan sounds similar to what the NBA has tested out over the past couple of seasons in the G-League, which follows the structure outlined below by the G-League’s official website:

The Showcase Cup begins on Friday, Nov. 4 and culminates with a single-elimination tournament to crown a champion at the 2022 AT&T NBA G League Winter Showcase from Dec. 19-22.  During the Showcase Cup, teams are separated into four regional pods and play 16 games against one another in NBA G League markets.  The teams with the best winning percentage in each regional pod, along with the next four teams across the league with the best win-percentages, will advance to compete for the Showcase Cup during Winter Showcase.

The NBA and NBPA have yet to finalize plans to start the tournament for the 2023-24 season, per Charania, but I think it’s fair to say we are closer to seeing this happen than ever before.

Still, one big question remains: How will the league incentive teams to truly compete with the Larry O’Brien Trophy hanging in the distance? Charania notes that there are plans to reward all eight teams that make the single-elimination tournament. What this reward would be, however, remains unclear.

The most obvious choice would be some kind of monetary prize, but would that really be enough to get well-paid superstars to approach this tournament like anything more than a batch of regular season games? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

At the end of the day, I’m not sold on this idea being as fun as the NBA expects it to be. But, hey, the Play-In Tournament has changed the competitive nature of the league for the better, so I’ll at least give it a shot.



Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is the Lead Bulls Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.