Analyzing an NBA Mid-Season Tournament


The game of soccer has been trending north in the United States for the past 5 years. Strong performances, for the USMNT’s standards, has propelled interest. Ratings for this year’s World Cup were higher than ever.

If you follow the sport, you know that most of the leagues have a mid-season tournament to divide up the in-season matches and crown a winner (plus cash). NBA commissioner Adam Silver seems to have interest in replicating that.

Silver has had no problem expressing his ideas in an attempt to be innovative and creative. He has expressed an idea in the past about eliminating the draft lottery and implementing a “draft wheel.” This is another idea that is summed up well by Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe – interesting.

This would more than likely shorten the regular season, which players will probably have no problem with. There could be some extra money in the equation as an incentive, too.

Two questions that can be asked is when do you place the tournament and what is the format?

One option is combining the all-star weekend and mid-season tournament into one. Have the tournament first, then top it off with the all-star game. It would be a fun few weeks for the league in one of our country’s most exciting cities, Las Vegas (Silver’s destination for the tournament).

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Option two is a mix of how the NHL season gets effected by the Olympics and the World Baseball Classic – have this tournament once every four years instead of all-star weekend. The showcase weekend every February can get repetitive. The game is entertaining, but players clearly don’t put in a full effort. The skills competitions do not wow anyone like they used to either. That mostly goes to the dunk contest. I don’t believe we have had a not good, but great tournament since 2003 when Jason Richardson wowed us. A one year break every four years could be beneficial to it.

Option three is to make a basketball champions league. The idea sounds like it would be fun on paper, but the NBA competition has proven itself to be superior to other countries over the years in the Olympics and other tournaments. A positive with the idea would be the chance for international teams or players to get themselves recognized. If a player on Barcelona’s basketball team that most NBA scouts and general managers have never heard of puts up 25 PPG through the tournament, you could expect calls to try to sign the guy if he was previously undrafted. The game of basketball would also further its global development, as former commissioner David Stern had done with great success through his tenure.

The idea of a mid-season tournament may make you scratch your head, but the more I think about it, the more intriguing and exciting it sounds. It is not only Adam Silver’s way of trying to leave his mark on the league, but his way of giving the NBA a fresher look to it.