What proposed incentive is most appealing for the OKC Thunder if they nab a home court seed?
An article today by Dave McMenamin of ESPN touches on what advantages home court seeds could be given to make up for the loss of playing at home. Since the OKC Thunder sat a single game back of that home court seed they might find this subject interesting.
As McMenamin notes the fear of the teams is that some items could come across as gimmicky. In a review of the list, I’m not sure how much benefit teams would get from having their own hardwood installed other than psychologically. More importantly, is this option would requiring hiring staff to constantly be installing the hardwood and changing it between each game.
Nor would getting to pick one hotel over another – – my understanding is all the hotels on the complex are essentially of the same high quality.
The suggestion for teams to get the ball for every quarter after the first doesn’t seem like that big of an advantage. If they are trailing and want to start off the quarter strong perhaps it holds some value but not necessarily enough to make this “benefit” that large. Finishing with the last shot would be a bigger advantage but that’s not going to be conceded.
What home-court advantages best benefit Thunder?
There are two options which do carry merit and would definitely be an advantage. Specifically being able to designate a player to collect seven instead of six personal fouls would be huge. For example, an extra foul for any defensive-minded player would allow them to lock in with more intensity at the game end.
What would make this an even better advantage is if the team could select who that player was at the end of the third quarter. A team like the OKC Thunder who utilizes several defensive-minded players, for example, could pick Steven Adams pregame, and then Chris Paul might be the one who gets five quick fouls. Still, given the Thunder clutch time dominance, an extra foul for a top defender would be beneficial.
The option that also has major value is an extra coach’s challenge. How many times has Billy Donovan used his challenge and minutes later a more egregious situation occurs?
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Of course, all of this is a moot point unless the OKC Thunder move up one step on the ladder. As of the suspension, OKC trailed the Jazz by a game the Heat by a half-game. The original schedule did have the Thunder playing both teams in their remaining 18 matches so it’s conceivable they would face them in the revised schedule.
The other note here is the OKC Thunder are within range of catching the Jazz (1.0), the Nuggets (2.5) and the Clippers (4.0) in the West while they trail the Heat (0.5) and Celtics (3.0) in the East.
Clearly, these teams could all shift positions but if the Thunder passed them they could finish as high as second in the West and fourth in league rankings. Based on each team playing eight games to close the regular season the revised schedule will play a major role in how much the OKC Thunder can improve.
Something to ponder since if there are home court benefits that would mean OKC could carry them through at least two rounds.
Whether you fall on the side of this being gimmicky or warranted is likely predicated by whether the Thunder has the home court seed. Ultimately, it’s not likely a big change occurs but at a minimum, if the NBA decides to pipe in music and cheers the higher seed should be able to select the music they normally use and maybe turn up the volume for their piped in cheers.
Do you think home court seeds should gain advantages and if so what should the league offer? Let us know in the comments section.