Where you can lose and still win


The NBA In-Season Tournament: Where You Can Lose and Still Win

The NBA has introduced a new In-Season tournament that has left fans and players scratching their heads. This tournament, which nobody asked for in the first place, has become increasingly convoluted as it progresses into the later stages. The most baffling aspect of it all is that teams are actually rewarded for losing. It’s like the participation trophy era has infiltrated professional sports.

One of the main talking points about this tournament is the inclusion of point differential in determining the winner. While the analytics crowd may be excited about this, it’s hard to take it seriously. The idea that a team can potentially “win” because they lost by less than a certain number of points is simply nonsensical. Technically, it goes down as a loss in the record books, but the team still advances further in the tournament.

Commissioner Adam Silver seems to believe that this tournament will make players care more about the regular season. However, if anything, it’s more likely to force teams to play in a way that they wouldn’t normally, given the game situation. This was evident in a recent game between the Sacramento Kings and the Golden State Warriors. The Kings had the opportunity to advance to the next round as long as they lost by less than 12 points. This led to a situation where the Warriors, who were up by three late in the game, seemed to rush through a possession because they needed to win by 12. The Warriors ended up losing the game outright.

While this can add excitement to the game, it also adds unnecessary complexity. The scheduling of the tournament games alongside regular season games, where the tournament games count towards the regular season record, except for the championship, is confusing. Additionally, many star players have still missed time, whether due to load management or other factors. It’s clear that this tournament is causing more trouble than it’s worth.

If the NBA is committed to continuing with this In-Season tournament, there are a couple of suggestions for improvement. First, the inclusion of point differential as a tiebreaker should be done away with. While it can be a helpful stat at times, it shouldn’t be the determining factor in who advances. Second, the tournament should be held all at once over a two-week period. The current system of spacing out the games, especially when they still count towards regular season records, is confusing and unnecessary.

Making these and other minor tweaks to the tournament could give fans a better understanding and make them more invested in the progression of the tournament. The notion of teams advancing in the tournament despite losing by a few points is one of the most absurd stipulations in professional sports. Additionally, there is no reason for the tournament to run through November and parts of December with breaks in between. Simplify the process, run it for a couple of weeks, and get it over with.

Ultimately, it remains to be seen if this In-Season tournament will achieve its intended goals. However, it’s clear that there are significant issues that need to be addressed. Whether the NBA takes these suggestions into consideration or not, one thing is for sure – this tournament has left many fans and players scratching their heads.

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