National NBA ratings are falling and interest in their products is declining in the regular season, and the league is trying to find a solution. According to a new report by Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe of ESPN, the problem is serious enough that the league is said to be considering major structural changes, including the creation of a tournament in the season and the repeat of the playoffs from the final of the conference.
The NBA, the Players Association and the League’s broadcast partners have already held talks to find a solution that works for everyone. According to Woj and Lowe, hope on the league side is that important changes will be made in time for 2021-22, the league’s 75th anniversary season.
You are here to tell the basics, and here are the details that Woj and Lowe have given on the key changes, as well as some of my personal thoughts on the subject.
Tournament in season
Modeled on national tournaments held in European football leagues around the world, the NBA hopes for a tournament that coincides with the regular season.
In fact, the NBA’s vision is that matches before the knockout stages are part of the regular season schedule. The winners from the six divisions as well as the two teams with the next best results after the first six qualifiers will then enter a knockout phase.
Including the early games in the regular season schedule is a clever way to do that as it overcomes the problem with domestic tournaments overseas. For example, in the English League Cup, many of the larger and better club pitches at the beginning of the tournament were made up of academy players to give their stars some rest, and while these regular season games could still be managed under load, they ranked top of the league important if a team does not want to win the tournament.
The idea of a mid-season tournament is appealing to bring home hardware-defeating teams, and the big catch for players will undoubtedly be to fight for a higher cash prize. However, there are reasons to fear that this tournament style will not work in the NBA construct because it differs from the European model.
For one, the model for football works because it offers something they would not otherwise have – a playoff / tournament format. Their league titles are decided by playing two games per game against every other team in the league. A tournament actually brings something different to the table, as fans and teams do not get it otherwise. Do elite tournament matchups offer more discussion feeds than big games in the calendar? When a team like “The Charlotte Hornets” in mid-season denies a tournament, is it really interesting for someone?
The “magic” of football matches is that for some of the clubs involved, this is the only chance they will ever have to compete with the giants of the sport. There is no equivalent to a lower league team that, for example, scores a surprise for Man United, as even the terrible NBA teams regularly beat good ones. All of these teams work under the same pay ceiling, which means they do not have the same feeling as if a costly outsider overthrows a financial giant.
It also raises the question of whether teams really want to expose their best players to a risk of injury in a young tournament, to cover the potential costs of losing them to their games knows important for their fans. A good team could reach the quarter-finals of the tournament and then rest all their good players for a game that does not matter in their big picture, and focus on the game to gain time for their stars.
To write history, you have to start somewhere so that the league will not be punished for trying to start a new tradition. I’m just not convinced that there is one that really has a reason to start but more advertising partnerships and try this Turn a few more games a year into “premium” items on the ticket markets.
(Incidentally, this is now planned for Thanksgiving, supposedly to avoid other major events in the sports calendar.) I hate to ban the NBA, but when football is played, the product will be I understand the players want it during the All-Star Break will not lose any of their free time, but that’s certainly the most logical time to keep them.)
Here’s the more controversial of the two ideas: The NBA wants to rebuild the playoff format and change the look and feel of their product’s showcase, which everyone looks forward to.
The league wants to make changes at both ends of the playoffs:
- Instead of creating the 1-8 seeds in the playoffs of each conference, the league has suggested that the 7-10 seeds in each conference have the right to move forward. Seven and eight would be playing for an automatic berth and then the loser of that game would go up against the winner of 9 against 10 to have the right to appear in the playoffs
- The repeat of the playoffs is based on the balance of regular time as soon as the teams have reached the conference final. The goal here, of course, is that the league has the two best teams to play in the NBA final
The problem with these ideas is that they are essentially fighting for totally opposite ideas.
If your suggestion is that the regular season should be more important than it is now, most of your fans are likely to agree, and it’s an admirable goal to strive for. The problem is that the play-in tournament contradicts this message directly. Forget about the value of all the games you’ve just played. Now you have a game to decide on your play-off fate. There will be fans who are thrilled with this prospect, maybe the kind of fans the NBA will have to win when the ratings drop, but it’s a mockery of what the NBA’s playoff format is. While the NFL, the MLB and the NHL are all leagues where you can catch a flash in the bottle, just doing the postseason, the NBA tends to reward consistent excellence.
(This could Help to bring the league to fruition from March to mid-April so that good teams almost always come through. The more teams in the mix to have a chance in the playoffs, the more “bad” teams will compete against each other on the track, which could aggravate the league’s problem. The Detroit Pistons, who are starting to get a little harder in March, will not be as interested in teams as the Sixers, Clippers, Bucks, etc., as they already do, and most piston fans will not even think about it. 10 to reach You have no hope of a deep playoff run.)
Theoretically, I like the second part of this proposal a bit, even if that’s not perfect. If you do not adjust the schedule so that each team plays exactly the same schedule, then the regular season records will not ultimately be apple comparisons.
(An alternative suggestion – the league should allow the overall seed # 1 to select the opponent they want to play in the conference finals.) The deeper the playoff teams come, the more matchups and styles play in. They want to add some drama and Watch what happens when the league’s best team tells another elite opponent: “We respect you the least.”
Speaking of the content of the timetable, this overarching proposal does not entail a huge reduction in games. While Woj and Lowe say that this would mean a “minimum” of 78 games in the regular season, there is a potential for a team to rise to 83. This unlikely scenario would mean that a team would reach the finals of the mid-season tournament and then make it to the finals of the play-in game as bib number 9 or 10, but all the problems of a long regular season still seem in this new proposal to pass.
It is important to note that none of these changes are close to official status, and the league must work on many different things before gathering for its April 2020 Governing Board annual meeting. Nevertheless, bold changes seem to be on the table. Maybe you should save some money for the NBA for a trip to the 2021 Kia Motors Classic, just in case.
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