I haven't written anything in a long time, but I had this idea, and nobody else seems to be talking about it. I think it's a great idea, and I want to get it out there as much as possible. Please read what I have to say and discuss. and then tell your friends and lets get it trickling throughout nba communities. maybe the league will catch on.
firstly, I don't like how the nba is doing their mid season tourney. for reasons I will bring up, I think they are making a mistake. I don't dislike the idea of a midseason tourney in general, I just don't like how they're doing it. If you are going to do a midseason tourney in the nba, there are some complications you have to work through. I think the nba tried to work through these, but they did a poor job at it.
in order to do a midseason tourney you have to decide who is going to participate, where, how do you make time to do it, travel, lodging, why you are doing it in the first place, and how you are going to motivate the players to put forth the effort in these games.
the nba has said everyone on all 30 teams are participating, so doing one bit get together seems unlikely. it would end up looking like the bubble. and how do you seed these guys in a bracket, and how long is this all going to take? and what about the regular season? and the number of games played? thats a mess... so they've decided that some of the regular season games will count double towards the seeding of this bracket. I don't like this because it makes the tourney games feel like an afterthought. they were already counting towards the ultimate goal of making the playoffs and eventually winning a title. adding that this game also counts towards a tourney that doesn't get me any closer to playoffs or title... this does nothing for me.
okay, well this is what we have, so let's go with it. we made time by eliminating the seeding games altogether. they're already scheduled, they already have locations. easy peazy. but what about the tourney itself? those games have to be played at a neutral location, right? especially if you're only getting a single elimination bracket. you can't have one team with the unfair homecourt advantage. so send the top 8 teams to vegas for an 8 team bracket. but when can we fit this in the schedule? they have to rework the regular season to fit it into december. some teams will be facing their normal schedule, and other teams are facing their bracket rivals, and some games will have to be rescheduled later to make up for those teams not making the bracket. the whole thing is a mess.
and then we get to the crux of my issue. why? who cares? what does this do? why am I supposed to care about this? to me, it's just another regular season game, except if we win, then it's an extra regular season game. our team winning this does nothing towards getting us closer to our overall goal of a title. why would the players even care? they get a nice pay day, but the best players on the team won't care about that. we've got 4 guys making over $30m this year, and they wipe their butts with 500k. the lower paid players will be excited for it, but the league is making the best players play in this tourney with very little reward. there's a lot of risk to those players. every game they step on the court, they risk a season ending, or career ending injury. why take that risk, and risk losing millions of dollars in future contracts, for $500k? I am not seeing the point as a fan, and I am not seeing why the best players in the word would want to do this at all.
"But joe! you said you could fix it!"
And I shall.
if the best players won't want to risk injury in a pointless game, then don't invite them. in fact, we want this tourney to have as little effect on the regular season as possible, while still being fun, exciting, and having the players engaged in tough competition.
I like the vegas location. they have shown with summer league that they have the facilities to take on such a massive event. I don't like using regular season games as counting double, so we won't do that. the only time we can fit into the season is during allstar break. there's like 10 days to work with. I don't want to invite all the best player from each team, because they won't want to play hard anyhow. I want to invite the players who get the least amount of playing time on each team. these are players that are often young, raw, inexperienced players who are looking to get more minutes, or at least would like to build their resume to continue finding contracts on more teams. god forbid anyone get injured in this pointless tourney, but if anyone does, it is not likely to effect the teams they play for in the regular season. these players already weren't getting that much playing time, probably for a reason. But these are still NBA players. and it is still nba players playing against other nba players. besides the 300+ guys getting regular minutes in the nba, these are the best players in the world. some of them just need some playing time, but won't get it because their team is trying to win and can't risk playing them too many minutes. some of them just need to play more to work on their games. some of them just need some highlights so their managers can talk them up for their next contract. either way, it'll be tough, hard fought competition.
with sending 5 players from each team, you can't just play 5 on 5. I think we should do 3 on 3. if you're doing 3 on 3, you might as well make it a pickup game. 3 on 3 to 21 or 35 or whatever. 1s and 2s. make it take it, or not doesn't matter. clear possessions. half court or full court, you get it. it's a pickup game. 5 players from each team get flown into vegas, and take 10 players from the g league to form 2 teams of 5 and you have 32 teams. a single elimination, 32 team bracket.
how do you choose seeding? random draw. think about it. how good are our end of bench guys compared to other teams? I have no idea. a good team might have a terrible end of bench because they cant afford otherwise. a bad team might also have a terrible end of bench, because they're taking chances on some very raw prospects that may or may not work out. the end of bench guys are so random, that the only thing you can do is random draw.
how long is this going to take? all star break has so many things going on. we would need to work it into that. if you plan on every team only getting 1 game per day, a 32 team bracket would take 5 days. I'd argue that pickup games aren't quite the same level of activity as a real nba game, so maybe you can run a morning set of games, and an evening set of games? maybe you could condense it to 3 days? but when you have 10 days, why rush it.
I've already mentioned why the players would care, and play hard. you could also throw in a prize bonus for the winners, and runners up. but why would the fans care? well, don't we all have a couple names of guys we see at the end of the bench that we want to see play? and if you're a fan of march madness, this is almost like march madness lite, with fewer teams and higher level play and completely different rules. pros also play so little 3 on 3, but we casual players will play 3 on 3 more regularly. it would be cool to see the different game plans, tactics, and plays these teams run and try to incorporate them into our own games.
so I hope you agree, my idea is awesome, but if you don't, I want to hear why. I want to see some discussion. I think I have created an idea that solves all the issues with the current tourney, creating something different, exciting, low risk, high reward, that the nba could benefit from, and fans would find enjoyable. it doesn't require changing the schedule, or adding games to the regular season. It's now more meaningful to the players that will be participating, and it would fit neatly into the all star break. even the rookie sophomore game should remain unaffected. likely the rookies and sophomores that are in that game are getting playing time on their teams, enough that they can be excluded from competing. I am having a hard time seeing downsides.
what do you think?