Detroit Pistons: Cons of an NBA in-season tournament
The biggest question for me around an in-season tournament is whether there would be adequate motivation for players to take it seriously.
Tournaments like the FA Cup and Champions League in football have built-in motivation, as lower league teams compete in the FA Cup and have a chance to go on a miracle run and the Champions League features top teams from around Europe.
Would an NBA tournament have such motivation? I’m not sure. The NBA will have to be careful how they schedule this or some players might take time off instead of competing. I could definitely see some teams holding out their top guys, as winning an NBA title is still the goal.
Teams are being more and more cautious about injuries, as we’ve seen in the Summer League, as few teams played their top guys more than one or two games. We’ve seen a lot of stars taking planned days off in the regular season, something that didn’t really happen in previous eras.
Would teams and players think the risk was worth it? Some certainly would, but I question if cash is enough motivation.
I also question whether casual fans will really care, though if the play-in tournament is any indication, there will be interest.
I hope the NBA figures it out, as I want more meaningful Detroit Pistons basketball and think an in-season tournament could be amazing if they do it right and find a way to make it matter.