How will the NBA In-Season Tournament even work, and how does it impact the OKC Thunder?
It is true that we already know the pool play schedule for the first-ever in-season tournament. However, this new format runs a lot deeper than that. For the first time ever, the NBA is rolling out an in-season tournament with monetary prizes on the line for the players and a chase for “The NBA Cup.”
The Pool play games will occur every Tuesday and Friday in November and count toward the end-of-year standings and the In Season tournament. Teams are divided into six different pools, three from each conference, the top teams in each pool, and two wild cards from each league, and advance to tournament play with the final four meetings in Vegas.
Therein lies the problem. First of all, without the games being played, we do not know which teams are advancing to the tournament stage, and the league has promised that only two teams will play more than 82 games, and it will be the two squads who compete for the cup bringing their total to 83. So the League can not release a full 82-game slate. That begs the question, how will the games get divided up post-pool play, and will there be any time off to reformulate a schedule?
However, there are other concerns with the new in-season tournament; what will the NBA do in November? The league office clearly wants this in-season tournament to be a hit. Two guaranteed dates a week amid football season where you can see stars play on national television with a bit of stake attached.
The issue is the stars have to play. So that makes scheduling games on Monday and Thursday nearly impossible as you do not want to ruin the tournament days where all 30 teams are in action and vying for bracket spots.
So what about back-to-backs with games on the back end? Playing Tuesday and Wednesday or Friday and Saturday? Though that cuts into the number of back-to-backs teams can play per CBA rules.
Would games take place only on Tuesday and Friday? Would they expand the week to Sunday, Tuesday, and Friday to dare and take on the almighty National Football League? How this unfolds will be critical for the OKC Thunder and the league.