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Should the In-Season Tournament winner automatically make NBA playoffs?

NBA Hard Cap

(AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

NBA In-Season Tournament
(AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

Should the In-Season Tournament winner automatically make NBA playoffs?

The first rendition of the NBA’s new In-Season Tournament, modeled after European-style soccer tournaments, will begin this upcoming 2023-24 season on Nov. 3 and will run through Dec. 9.

Currently, players on the winning team of the inaugural tournament will each receive $500K, while the losers of the championship receive $200K. In addition, players on the team that lose the semifinals receive $100K and the losers of the quarterfinals will receive $50K.

Though former NBA general manager and current ESPN cap insider Bobby Marks proposed another incentive: The winner automatically makes the playoffs.

This is a very fascinating idea from Marks that I’d be willing to listen to.

The idea of the tournament itself has significantly grown on me; it adds excitement to an already enjoyable 82-game regular season (in my opinion), and it will give fringe teams incentive to 1.) improve their regular season record and 2.) Make more money, even if won’t make much of a dent in, say, Fred VanVleet’s wallett.

Marks’ proposal might not make a difference for the league’s contenders–such as the Milwaukee Bucks, Boston Celtics, Phoenix Suns or the reigning NBA Champion Denver Nuggets, among a few others–since you could already pencil them in for a playoff spot. But what if you’re the Oklahoma City Thunder, Toronto Raptors, Indiana Pacers, Orlando Magic or the Utah Jazz, or a team of a similar ilk?

While they are unlikely winners of the tournament, wouldn’t a guaranteed playoff spot makes things more interesting, especially for really any non-contender?

If it passed, one of the biggest issues the NBA and NBPA would have to navigate would be who would then miss the playoffs if the winning team somehow finished outside of the top-6 in their respective conference? What seed would the winning team (in that scenario) receive, and how would it affect the play-in tournament?

It’s an intriguing idea, but one with hurdles to navigate–like most new proposals. I’d be willing to entertain it regardless. Add fuel to the fire!

If you’re unfamiliar with how the In-Season Tournament works, let me guide you.

The NBA will have six different groups–three from each conference–composed of five teams apiece for the group stage. Every team will play each team in their group once–two on the road and two at home–and the winner of each group plus two wild card teams will advance to the final eight knockout stage, which begins on Dec. 4.

The final four will be played in Las Vegas, Nev., on Dec. 7 with the championship on Dec. 9. Every game outside of the In-Season Tournament championship will count towards a team regular season’s record. For more on the In-Season Tournament, click here.

What do you think about Bobby Marks’ idea? Let us know in the comments!


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