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Is a midseason tournament the right move for the NBA?

The NBA is considering adding a midseason tournament starting in 2024 but will it work?

NBA: Playoffs-Dallas Mavericks at Phoenix Suns Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

At this time we do not have really any details as to how this would work or what the prize is for winning. Are these exhibition games? Do they help with playoff seeding in some way? Is it just for more money? All of these questions and more are yet to be answered so it is hard to come to a clear conclusion about how we should feel about this right now.

But who cares. Let’s just make assumptions and jump to conclusions anyway because what else CAN we do?

How would this work?

The most logical way for this to work is that it’s a 30-team bracket with single elimination, possibly organized by seeding at that time or maybe even just random seeding to give the lower-end teams a fighting shot. And maybe the further you make it in the tournament it adds wins to your regular season total. So let’s say there are 5 rounds (with the top 2 seeds having a first-round bye). If your team makes it to round 2 you gain one win to your total come playoff time.

So if you are one game back of the 8 seed and have the tiebreaker, by making that second round in the midseason tournament you just made the playoffs! But let’s also make the rewards exponentially greater as they go on. Maybe round two rewards one win and round three rewards two wins but maybe round four gains you five wins and round five can be worth up to 10 wins.

Just spitballing.

But making these games actually matter and not just be about prize money will encourage teams to put their best foot forward in these tournaments.


Would you like to see a tournament with these rewards?

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  • 22%
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  • 77%
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235 votes total Vote Now


The problem is that as of right now teams do not value the regular season nearly as much as the fans want them to. Players (even role players) rarely ever play all 82 games and you’ll be lucky if your favorite star player plays even 75 games. This is because players and teams are of the belief that playing fewer regular season games preserves your body so it is easier to play every playoff game without getting injured.

Now I cannot confirm nor deny the truth of this theory but regardless this is how teams are operating at this point in time. Even with 25-year-olds who have no injury history. It’s a little crazy if you ask me.

So adding more games to the season with this tournament (even if it’s only five) does not sound like a great idea on paper. In fact, even with my method of rewarding teams for competing it actually devalues the regular season even more!

Let’s pretend last season there was one of these tournaments and the winner of it was the Brooklyn Nets. The Nets would have gained ten wins to their total and instead of being the seventh seed, would jump as high as the one seed (depending on how the other eastern teams did in the tourney). That would be crazy!

From a fan's perspective this actually sounds pretty fun but not if it means teams will care even less about the regular season (aka the majority of the NBA season). The NBA is supposed to be a year-round sport and a 9 month sport with actual play. With a tournament like this it might devolve into a four or five month sport and that is not what we want to see.


At first my instinct was that this is a horrible idea but I do think there is a way where a tournament like this has value without hurting the regular season. If the NBA can figure that out this could be a gem almost as good as the playoff play-in tournament.

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