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The NBA In-Season Tournament: A Splash of Flash

Photo by David Dow

The NBA’s new In-Season Tournament kicked off on Nov. 3 and excitement is building as competition is underway.

This summer, during the NBA offseason, Commissioner Adam Silver announced the plan to launch this new tournament to bring an exciting element to the game of basketball. After a few years of rumors around this topic the deal was finally settled, and the In-Season Tournament is here at last.

The tournament brings a never-before-seen bracket system to the league.

Group play is the first of two stages of the tournament. In this stage, the East and West conferences have each been divided into groups of five, tallying six groups in total. Every team plays four games against the teams in their designated groups on “Tournament Nights”.

Eight out of the thirty NBA teams will advance from Group Play and enter the second stage of the tournament, Knockout Rounds. The Knockout Rounds consist of the quarterfinals, semifinals, and championship game, which will all be single elimination.

The tournament championship will be held at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Dec. 9.  The winning team will be presented the NBA Cup and each player on the roster will be rewarded with $500,000.

All 67 of the tournament’s games will be counted towards each team’s regular season record, excluding the championship game.

Group Play concluded Tuesday night and four teams from each conference are set to play in the quarterfinals on Dec. 4 and 5. This season’s reactions from players have been mostly positive and a new sense of competition has been introduced into the regular season.

“The games are competitive early on. We’re in week 2 or 3 and we already have kind of a playoff-like atmosphere.” – Keegan Murray, Sacramento Kings Small Forward

Photo by Ron Hoskins

The NBA also brought a new approach to another aspect of the league, giving a custom In-Season Tournament court to each team. These courts have drawn many eyes to the league for differing reasons. This color bombing of the courts is something that has been seen very seldom in the history of the league. There are mixed reviews from fans, but there is no doubt that it has drawn eyes to the games.

Adam Silver made it clear that this tournament is framed around the objective to bring excitement to the long and rigorous 82-game season.

“We have to keep interest from our fans, and we have a long regular season,” said Silver “NFL. College football. There are other interests people are following, so let’s make some more excitement around this league.”

Between the postseason-like competition and flashy courts, lots of hope has been placed upon this new style of play in the league. Silver expresses a desire to establish the In-Season Tournament as an NBA tradition for generations to come.

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