NBA considering reseeding conference finalists, postseason play-in

The Social Chair

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https://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/28145944/sources-nba-considering-reseeding-conference-finalists-postseason-play-in
The NBA is engaged in serious discussions with the National Basketball Players Association and broadcast partners on sweeping and dramatic changes to the league calendar that include a reseeding of the four conference finalists, a 30 team in-season tournament, and a postseason play-in, league sources told ESPN.

These scenarios include the shortening of the regular season to a minimum of 78 games, league sources said.
78 games is still too many.
 

jon abbey

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They should reseed the final eight, not four, otherwise you still have the issue when three of the best four teams are in one conference, two of them will play each other in the second round. The final four is a step in the right direction, though.
 

Ale Xander

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Just give me a 58 game regular season, 2 days off in between each game, except xmas eve have an extra day of rest, schedule hands-on each team maybe 4 games, randomize the rest. Yeah, you won't have super duper days (xmas, etc.) Each game will have novelty then.
And best of 5 in the first 2 rounds of the playoffs.

This may suck for ESPN and TNT, but work with them to make it work.
 

scottyno

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In theory a tourney sounds fun, in practice I'm not sure why teams that are already load managing their stars are going to push them extra hard early in a long season to win it.
 

nattysez

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78 games is still too many.
+1 to this. As AleX suggested, they need to dramatically drop the number of games, especially if they want to add a high-intensity tourney to the schedule.

Also, how does this impact TNT and espn? The schedule can be structured so that they will still have plenty of games to choose from on a given night. It's not as if TNT and ESPN show every single game every night.
 

mauf

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In theory a tourney sounds fun, in practice I'm not sure why teams that are already load managing their stars are going to push them extra hard early in a long season to win it.
It’s just a trial balloon for now. If there’s interest, I think they’ll come up with an incentive (maybe just money) that will motivate a large number of teams to approach the tournament with something approaching playoff-level intensity. The trick will be making it also worth the owners’ while to give up two or three guaranteed home dates.
 

DJnVa

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Is it reducing if they simply move "regular season" to "in-season tourney"?
 

scottyno

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It’s just a trial balloon for now. If there’s interest, I think they’ll come up with an incentive (maybe just money) that will motivate a large number of teams to approach the tournament with something approaching playoff-level intensity. The trick will be making it also worth the owners’ while to give up two or three guaranteed home dates.
Even if you get owners to accept it I have no idea what they could offer that would get coaches and players to treat what's normally games 15-20 or so of the regular season like it's do or die and push their stars to go all out for 40+ minutes. Money would motivate some guys, but I can't see it getting the max contract guys to go extra hard.
 

bowiac

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The length of the season is fine as-is, and teams resting their guys is also fine. The biggest issue with the schedule is that teams stop trying for the last 2-3 weeks, because playoff seeding doesn't matter enough. But reducing the season won't solve that - they'll still take their foot off the gas once they're mostly in line for whatever seeding they want.

Keep the schedule as-is. If you want to do something, increase the rewards for being the 1/2 seed (5-2 home/road in the first round, lotto balls, etc...).
 

shawnrbu

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Can someone elaborate on the "in season tourney" portion? I don't follow Premiere League, so I'm a little lost.
Single elimination tournament with the rounds spread out during the regular season. Could give 2 teams a bye to the second round (Like Hulk Hogan and Andre The Giant at WM 4). Random draw determines home court. Finals played at MSG.
 

SumnerH

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I hate re-seeding. It's punitive on the low seed that manages to beat a tough team early, and is “rewarded” by rearranging the bracket so they have to keep facing high seeds.
 

johnmd20

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I hate re-seeding. It's punitive on the low seed that manages to beat a tough team early, and is “rewarded” by rearranging the bracket so they have to keep facing high seeds.
But it does make the regular season incredibly important. Which, right now, it's not.
 

InstaFace

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In theory a tourney sounds fun, in practice I'm not sure why teams that are already load managing their stars are going to push them extra hard early in a long season to win it.
Because it's a trophy you can win against NBA competition, and right now there's only one of those, and so the fans will like it. Same reason EPL teams try to win the FA Cup, even if they rotate their teams heavily in the early rounds against inferior competition.

Can someone elaborate on the "in season tourney" portion? I don't follow Premiere League, so I'm a little lost.
Clubs enter 3-4 competitions per year, mostly against peers. The obvious one is the League, which is a home-and-home round robin against the other league teams, all on weekends. But in addition to that they enter several Cups, which are knockout tournaments with various rules (when teams at different levels enter the competition, are certain rounds home-and-home or single elimination, etc), the games for which mostly take place on midweek dates. In England, the oldest and most famous is the FA Cup, contested by over 700 teams down to like the 12th tier of the league pyramid. The teams with a real chance to win it (the top-level teams) enter very late, basically the round of 64, so they only have a few games to add to their calendar - but if they lose one they're out.

There is also a League Cup contested by only the 116 fully-professional teams in the top 4 tiers, again with the knockout format. And if you're one of the teams finishing the year top 7 in the Premier League, you get entree to the Europe-wide Champions League (top-4) or second-tier Europa League (#s 5-7) competitions in the *following* season. The first of those, the Champions League, crowns the European Champion and is definitely the most prestigious thing you can win as a soccer club.

The way the scheduling works is that every couple of weeks, they play another round of one of the cups. If you're still in it, you play; of not, you get to rest, or play a rained-out makeup game or something.

The thing to remember about this, what makes it fun, is that there's more than one thing that's worth winning each year. Right now in US sports, only one teams fans get something to celebrate each year. This is another model and one that adds fun.
 
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Tangled Up In Red

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The thing to remember about this, what makes it fun, is that there's more than one thing that's worth winning each year. Right now in US sports, only one teams fans get something to celebrate each year. This is another model and one that adds fun.
We've been doing this in my base ball league for the past 5 years. Been a hugely wlecomed success. It's not mid-season, but is separate silverware (trophy). Usually, the league champ does not also win the Cup, so two teams achieve success in a calendar year.
Then again, some guys don't get it and think it is the "playoffs".
Then again, we just won the "double" this season, so comprehension doesn't mater ;)
 

snowmanny

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So if the re-seeding protocol was in effect last year we would have theoretically had Toronto-Golden State in the semifinals. Interesting but not particularly more intriguing.
 

jon abbey

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So if the re-seeding protocol was in effect last year we would have theoretically had Toronto-Golden State in the semifinals. Interesting but not particularly more intriguing.
Last year was more balanced between the conferences than most, this would avoid a situation like we just had with CLE where they make the Finals four years in a row despite rarely being one of the two best teams in the league. They might still make the Finals but they would likely have to beat a better team to get there at least.
 

benhogan

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Can someone elaborate on the "in season tourney" portion? I don't follow Premiere League, so I'm a little lost.
In some respects, NCAA basketball has in-season tournaments.
Maui Classic, NIT Season Tip-Off, Empire Classic at MSG, Battle 4 Atlantis, etc and also the conference tournament championships towards the end of the season (Big East, ACC, etc).

All prior to March Madness the single-elimination tournament that decides the Champion
 

benhogan

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The length of the season is fine as-is, and teams resting their guys is also fine. The biggest issue with the schedule is that teams stop trying for the last 2-3 weeks, because playoff seeding doesn't matter enough. But reducing the season won't solve that - they'll still take their foot off the gas once they're mostly in line for whatever seeding they want.

Keep the schedule as-is. If you want to do something, increase the rewards for being the 1/2 seed (5-2 home/road in the first round, lotto balls, etc...).
Agreed. The season is fine. Load mgmt is fine. I enjoy watching bench guys get a shot at playing when the superstars take a break.

My only change: I don't care for gimmicks like regular-season games played in London. The preseason or Summer is fine for those international exhibitions
 

TripleOT

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I don't think things are all that wrong. We had an interesting regulars season last year, and an amazing post season. This season is looking to have very strong playoffs too, despite Golden State faltering (or maybe because of it).
 

DJnVa

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ESPN yesterday, on their crawl, said the regular season would drop to no less than 78 games and that so far there "there has not been significant pushback."
 

NomarsFool

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In football, I feel like the first round bye is a strong motivation for playoff teams to keep competing, even after the seeds are fairly well set. It's not an easy comparison, because football is single elimination. But, I feel like there should be some reward for winning the tournament besides the hardware. Drop a team from the playoffs and give 1 team in each conference a 1st round bye? Does the #8 seeded team actually like being in the playoffs? It almost seems like they'd rather be in the lottery.
 

Captaincoop

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Creating an in-season tournament, out of the blue, and expecting fans or teams to care about it, is foolish.

Now, mix in some FA Cup elements - have a G league All-Star team, some national teams or top Euro club teams involved, or whatever...ok, there might be a way to make that interesting.
 

allstonite

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I like the idea of a midseason tournament to break up the monotony of the season and give lesser teams a chance at some glory. I’ve always though a fun wrinkle would be to make it a 23 and under tournament. This would be difficult from a roster standpoint but teams could fly in their G League teams to fill it out for tournament games. The NBA draft is constantly replenishing the league with bright young stars but then half of them get stuck in shitty situations and aren’t relevant for years afterwards. Someone like De’Aaron Fox is a great player but is never on national TV and his season will be over come April. It would be a good way to showcase these players of the future as well as former college stars who might be floating around the G league. (TACKO!)
 

Big John

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The NBA needs to make the regular season more relevant. I don't know the best way do do that. As for playoff reseeding, it actually screws the teams in the stronger conference, doesn't it? Top Teams in the weaker conference play tomato cans more often, hence will have better records and home court advantage when the reseeding occurs.
 

DJnVa

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Creating an in-season tournament, out of the blue, and expecting fans or teams to care about it, is foolish.

Now, mix in some FA Cup elements - have a G league All-Star team, some national teams or top Euro club teams involved, or whatever...ok, there might be a way to make that interesting.
So with college athletes starting to make some cash, who wouldn't want to watch doubleheader of Duke vs. Knicks in a 1st round match-up, with Michigan St. vs. Real Madrid the nightcap?
 

Captaincoop

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The NBA needs to make the regular season more relevant. I don't know the best way do do that. As for playoff reseeding, it actually screws the teams in the stronger conference, doesn't it? Top Teams in the weaker conference play tomato cans more often, hence will have better records and home court advantage when the reseeding occurs.
Yes, it does. Once you start reseeding that way, you may as well not have conferences at all. Which will lessen rivalries and send players all over the country all the time.

What problem is reseeding trying to solve? Are we really worried about having the best matchup in the conference finals some years? That has happened forever and it's not a huge problem.

The NBA is a great product and the teams are minting money. Don't ruin it.
 

Captaincoop

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So with college athletes starting to make some cash, who wouldn't want to watch doubleheader of Duke vs. Knicks in a 1st round match-up, with Michigan St. vs. Real Madrid the nightcap?
The college teams would lose by 50, but I do like the idea of mixing in non-NBA teams.
 

snowmanny

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Last year was more balanced between the conferences than most, this would avoid a situation like we just had with CLE where they make the Finals four years in a row despite rarely being one of the two best teams in the league. They might still make the Finals but they would likely have to beat a better team to get there at least.
I guess. So the year before last we would have had HOU-LeBron and GS-BOS. Presumably we would have a had a great Finals and two blowout Semis instead of two seven game semis and a blowout Finals.

It’s fine to do but I think the net positive effect is going to be pretty small.
 

DJnVa

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But yeah, college teams would get drilled, and we can't add too many games to their schedule, but adding 1 or 2 games to their schedule and removing some midweek game against Western Carolina would be cool. Maybe they open against a G League type team, with winner getting shot at NBA team.

Then NBA team risks load management with reserves against them.

Anything that makes it interesting is.....interesting.
 

NomarsFool

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Just throwing outside the box ideas here - totally not serious - but what would be interesting would be more like a couple of college All-Star teams. Or conference All-Star teams. Imagine an ACC All-Star team going up against the Knicks? Would really help with talent evaluation for the draft.
 

InstaFace

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So with college athletes starting to make some cash, who wouldn't want to watch doubleheader of Duke vs. Knicks in a 1st round match-up, with Michigan St. vs. Real Madrid the nightcap?
I would watch the shit out of that. Coach K beat by his own former stars, or the Knicks further humiliated, what's not to love?
 

Awesome Fossum

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I'm all for non-NBA teams. I'm sure Duke would lose by 50, but they beat the Central Arkansas of the world by 50 all the time. Won't kill them to be on the end of it once a year. Does it require a change to NCAA rules? If Boston College can play the Red Sox in February can they not also play the Celtics in December?

I think it would be cool if they somehow did a round robin or mini tournament with the four old ABA teams with throwbacks and the red, white, and blue ball and gave the winner the old ABA trophy. (Bonus: play the championship in an old ABA city without an NBA team like St. Louis or Louisville.) That actually could probably be incorporated into the current set up without too much headache.
 

Captaincoop

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I'm all for non-NBA teams. I'm sure Duke would lose by 50, but they beat the Central Arkansas of the world by 50 all the time. Won't kill them to be on the end of it once a year. Does it require a change to NCAA rules? If Boston College can play the Red Sox in February can they not also play the Celtics in December?

I think it would be cool if they somehow did a round robin or mini tournament with the four old ABA teams with throwbacks and the red, white, and blue ball and gave the winner the old ABA trophy. (Bonus: play the championship in an old ABA city without an NBA team like St. Louis or Louisville.) That actually could probably be incorporated into the current set up without too much headache.
That idea is fantastic.
 

TripleOT

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The worst NBA team should be able to beat the best NCAA team handily.

I'd venture that the worst NBA team of all time, the 2012 Charlotte Bobcats, wouldn't have lost to the NCAA champion Kentucky Wildcats.

Here's a crazy idea. The Sunday before the Super Bowl, play an all star game, US NBA players versus World NBA players, 10 team roster, winning team gets $25 million, losing team gets nothing.
 
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InstaFace

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College all-stars vs an NBA team, or even a G-league / NCAA set of showcases, would be an awesome aspect to the All Star break.
 

DJnVa

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Apparently, per Marc Stein, the NBA is considering offering an additional draft pick to the winner of a potential mid-season tourney.

How that motivates current players is still up in the air.
 

NomarsFool

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I think rewards that are too winner take all, aren't the best motivators. So many teams would have no real chance of winning. Also, hard to know if the players would really even value that at all.

Simple money could be useful. Divide the take for the extra games, and even an extra kicker for winning.
 

InstaFace

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well you could have one reward to motivate players, aside from a (minor) trophy, and one reward to the teams to get them to take it seriously / mostly play their A teams. The former could be anything from money the farther you advance to tournament-only awards to a playoff 1st-round bye. This is just a creative idea for the latter.

Whether they adopt it or not, that's a brilliant out-of-the-box idea by the NBA.
 
This concept should seem much, much, much less weird to anyone who is familiar with how sports are run outside of North America. And if the NBA is seriously courting fans outside of North America - which it definitely is - then why not try running a competition which makes perfect sense to them, even if for a while it will feel very weird to Americans?

Me, I'm hoping this tournament will a) succeed on its own merits, but more importantly b) will shift the Overton Window regarding the types of competitions that might succeed in other American sports. (Baseball in particular would be perfect for something like this...)
 

NomarsFool

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How about the tournament sets your draft order? In a positive sense? #1 team gets the #1 pick, and losers continue to play in consolation rounds so that a clear ranking of all teams is decided.

Not for the first round - that would be a rich get richer and the poor get poorer situation. But, could it be a possibility for the 2nd round? Or a 3rd round and teams get to keep the rights for 2 years?

Just thinking of ways to make the impact of the tournament meaningful, even for the bottom tier of teams. In European soccer leagues, the bottom tier teams are fighting tooth and nail to keep from being dropped into a lower category of team. I'm not at all familiar with how it works, but you get the sense that teams definitely just don't give up. I assume the draft has a big impact on tanking. Do they not have drafts in non-American sports leagues?
 

lexrageorge

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Or, the non-playoff teams have their draft order based on how they perform in the tournament.

The non-US soccer leagues have relegation, but that would never, ever work in the NBA (or MLB or NFL or NHL). But there are certainly ways to provide incentives to the teams and players to make the tournament worth playing for. Give the NBA credit for at least floating the idea.

Just not a fan of the reseeding; seems like a way to keep the Bucks out of the Finals. The sponsors profits are not my problem.
 

reggiecleveland

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The college teams would lose by 50, but I do like the idea of mixing in non-NBA teams.
This can't be stressed enough. I coached in the CEBL, a summer pro league with only three american players allowed per team. My son was at the Gonzaga team camp and we watched the Zags scrimmage. the older returning pros like Stockton's son, were better than our guys, but even our group of G-league and below veteran pros in their mid twenties, even with seven of our ten being Canadian guys, we would beat Gonzaga. A team of all G-league guys would thrash them. A team of recently retired NBA guys would thrash college teams.

The NHL at one time had Soviet Club teams play NHL teams and there were arguments to have each team play one game and count it in the standings. Maybe Lebron can take his 'Hear no evil, speak no evil" tour to China for 10 games. Maybe each nba team gets an extra home game playing one international team. They could do all the games in a two week period to get attention.

All star weekend having a team of 1st and 2nd year guys play a top Euro team would be better than the lunch league/no D/dunk contest that is the prospects game.
 
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InstaFace

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Absolutely. EuroLeague would charter the planes before the NBA could hang up the phone after making the invite. Most of those clubs average 8-9k attendance per game, and even the Final Four where 19yo Luka Doncic torched everyone barely got to 15k. NBA teams average 18k for the season and a ticket costs way, way more, to say nothing of the massive difference in TV money.

Maybe the single-elimination tournament could include some of them. Sure, the NBAs could always opt not to take it seriously, but how embarrassing would it be for them if they lost? Meanwhile, the Euro teams would each be playing their own personal super bowl if they got to take the court against an NBA team.

Imagined format:

64-team 6-round single-elim tournament with byes.
- NBA teams ranked top 2 in each conference at some cutoff date, plus the defending conf champs (or next highest-ranked finisher if overlapping) get byes to the R16 / R3. That's 6 teams covering 24 R1-level spots.
- NBA teams ranked 3-6 in each conference at a cutoff date, plus next highest-ranked finisher in the previous year's playoffs, get byes to the R32 / R2. That's 10 teams covering 20 R1-level spots.
- That leaves 14 NBA teams for 20 R1 spots.
- Fill the remaining 6 with EuroLeague teams, or a handful of them plus a few oddball entrants who could assemble a credible all-star team without including NBA players. Put a G-League All-Stars team up in there, you think they wouldn't be motivated to play the Wizards or Knicks? Put a College All-Stars team in there led by Coach K, let them go lose by 40 to their future coworkers.
- Play roughly 2 rounds a month on scheduled 3-day breaks in the NBA league season starting in, uh, January? Would give each team ~2 weeks to sell tickets to a game they'd just qualified for, but only a few teams would ever have to scramble because the bye-to-R2 teams know they're hosting an R2, and the bye-to-R3 teams know they're hosting an R3. Can put a R3 or R4 date right around the ASB.
- So you see a champion crowned maybe a week before the NCAAs start, and everyone can watch the semis and finals on, say, a Monday and Wednesday.
- Union agrees to the extra games, gets a ton of extra money thrown to the players, maybe agrees to extend the season by a few days on either end

How fucking fun would that be?