The dog star Sirius is in the sky. The days are hot. There’s only baseball, soccer in some form, and worse, much worse, going on in the world. Also, there’s no basketball.
Well, there’s some sort of tournament featuring guys who once played for a good college program and then went on to coach high school, or learned to code, sold insurance, played basketball in Chile, or something, but are convinced they’ve still got it. If you can watch it with any enjoyment, you’re a bigger fan than I. I think it would be a better tournament if the shooter had to take a tequila shot after every clanked midrange attempted. It’s the “unboxing video” of basketball, only you’re unboxing someone’s recycling bin.
Anyway, why not explore somewhat ludicrous concepts for the NBA in the meantime?
Professional soccer has any number of trophies that might be won, from the very serious; “your team won the Champions League” to “your team won the International Champions Cup”, or was that the Audi Cup, or the Community Shield? That’s right, trophies for pre-season!
A team can lose a league title, yet win the big club title, or win some sort of open tournament featuring nearly every possible team, that takes place alongside the regular season. Or it might win a secondary tournament, and rejoin the big time tournament.
The nice thing is, fans often have something positive to take away, rather than the binary outcome of the NBA season. Sure, some trophies are bigger than others, but some compensation is generally better than none. I also think it’s very important right now to add luster to the regular season, and this is a way to do it.
So here are a few ideas. Feel free to add your own BTL.
A Regular Season Trophy with rewards.
The team with the best record gets The David Stern NBA Cup, for the best regular season record. It’s an actual trophy your team can display. I envision a gold toned bowl, four feet high, with David Stern’s face in relief on four sides.
It also comes with an additional draft pick just outside the lottery, and a salary exception for that pick (though the rookie contract), even if a team is hard-capped. I’d also like to add a first round bye for this team, but we need to get another team a bye. More on that later.
That’s how the most viewed sports league in the world works, by the way. If you win the most games, you win the league. Dropped a stupid game in late October? Could be the difference. Try harder.
This could have the effect of reducing the amount of time max NBA players take off in the regular season to be ready for the playoffs. I understand why its happening, but it’s going to be a problem sooner rather than later. The regular season pays for all this fabulousness, these $100+ million deals.
The regular season isn’t some sort of price teams have to pay, a toll to get to the good stuff. It’s the actual product, the actual league. It’s time the NBA recognized that, before it is too late.
The Holiday Invitational
Christmas Day won’t feature a day full of big regular season games. It’ll feature the quarter finals of the holiday invitational. The invitational part is that in order to make December a 32 team tournament we invite two international clubs, or national teams, to compete. In order to keep the games coming, we have a winners and losers bracket, so that teams keep playing (can’t lose
revenue games off the schedule!) but only the winners end up on Christmas Day, with the final being New Years Eve.
Yes, it’s a bit of a pain to organize, but there’s a trophy at the end of it for the winner, and your game results count towards your regular season total. Be a top seed and notch an easy win against a Euro league opponent!
If the NBA wanted to continue its experiment with playing regular season games in other locations, this is the ideal way. Something like “Mexico City gets two quarter final games.” and “Singapore gets the Final.” This location based scheduling works perfectly well for the NCAA Tournament, so if the NBA wanted to try markets out, etc, they could.
Or you could have some sort of Vegas angle - like the New Year’s Eve Final is always in Las Vegas. Would I be attracted to a big time NBA game in Vegas on New Years Eve? Yes, I would, despite the crowds and craziness.
The winner of this tournament also gets the other first round bye, to go with the regular season winner. If somehow it’s a foreign team, or the regular season winner, it goes to the second place team, and so on.
Yes that means doing away with conferences for the playoffs. You thought this plan wouldn’t include that? It’s time to stop rewarding regular season mediocrity, as well.
Anyhow, that’s a start. What do you think? I won’t be satisfied until it’s possible to win at least five trophies a season, with the NBA Playoff Finals being the biggest, of course. We already have a Summer League trophy, so that’s something, but winning it should come with an extra two-way contract slot.
This poll is closed
Leave things as they are.
There should be a trophy just for being Luka Doncic.