Tuesday, September 8, 2015

2015 NBA Tournament

Are all 82 games necessary to determine playoff positions? Can the beginning of the season be as compelling as the playoffs are at the end of the season? Why wait until Christmas for a marquee match-up? After a quarter of the season has been played and most of the playoff teams have been established.

One of the NBA's many inadequacies is the lack of any kind of season opening tradition, part of the Triple Crown Season idea is to open with a group-play tournament along the lines of the FIFA World Cup and the NCAA March Madness Tournament as one part of a three part 82-game schedule.

Each group in the 2015 NBA Tournament would have been determined as soon as the last game of the previous season had finished. The simple method is to split the teams into six groups according to how they finished the previous season without regard to conferences and divisions (which elevates OKC, who should have had BRK's playoff spot). Thank you basketball-reference.com.

1. GSW6710.01GROUP A1. GSW6710.01
2. ATL604.757. CLE534.08
3. LAC566.813. OKC452.47
4. HOU563.8219. IND38-0.23
5. SAS556.3425. SAC29-3.07
6. MEM553.62GROUP B2. ATL604.75
7. CLE534.088. POR514.41
8. POR514.4114. NOP451.13
9. DAL503.3620. BRK38-3.13
10. CHI502.5426. ORL25-5.87
11. TOR492.45GROUP C3. LAC566.8
12. WAS460.179. DAL503.36
13. OKC452.4715. MIL41-0.09
14. NOP451.1321. MIA37-2.92
15. MIL41-0.0927. LAL21-6.17
16. BOS40-0.4GROUP D4. HOU563.82
17. PHX39-0.3810. CHI502.54
18. UTA380.7116. BOS40-0.4
19. IND38-0.2322. CHA33-3.44
20. BRK38-3.1328. PHI18-9.04
21. MIA37-2.92GROUP E5. SAS556.34
22. CHA33-3.4411. TOR492.45
23. DET32-1.3917. PHX39-0.38
24. DEN30-3.0723. DET32-1.39
25. SAC29-3.0729. NYK17-9.5
26. ORL25-5.87GROUP F6. MEM553.62
27. LAL21-6.1712. WAS460.17
28. PHI18-9.0418. UTA380.71
29. NYK17-9.524. DEN30-3.07
30. MIN16-830. MIN16-8

The group-play portion will be 16 games where teams within each group play a four-game series, two home and two away, and then allow only the top three in each group (18 total) to qualify for the single game elimination tournament. The NBA will hold a unique value no other league can claim as these games will likely generate playoff caliber intensity to open the season.

Without considering off-season changes, Group A would likely be the Group of Death and should provide immediate must-see games to start every season. And, after considering this off-season, all the Group C games should be even more compelling.

Once the top three teams in each of the six groups have qualified, the tournament would then reseed 1 through 18 overall, according to wins, points scored, three-pointers, whatever statistics the official NBA Tournament Competition Committee prioritizes, as there will likely be several teams with the same win-loss record. (Just imagine the drama on twitter.)

Please note the 16 group-play games would take place at each team's respective arena (under the Triple Crown Season concept all 30 teams keep all their 41 home games) and the tournament would be held, ideally, at a predetermined neutral location(s), like Seattle and Vancouver or London and Paris.

Then it is time for the big dance starting with a couple of play-in games. The 15th and 18th ranked teams play each other to face-off against the 1st ranked team while the 16th and 17th ranked teams play to face-off against the 2nd ranked team.

Play-InFirst RoundQuarter FinalsSemi FinalsFinal
15 v 18

1 v (15 or 18)

5 v 13

7 v 10

3 v 14

4 v 13

8 v 9

6 v 11

2 v (16 or 17)

16 v 17

Furthermore the NBA Tournament can exploit Thanksgiving Weekend better than the NFL. Open on Monday with the two Play-In games and then hold four games each on the Thursday and Friday (First Round), two games each on Saturday and Sunday (Quarter Finals) and finish with the Semi Finals games on the following Thursday with the Final Tournament Championship on Saturday or Sunday. 

There are other ways an NBA tournament can be developed, it can be put on later in the season, groups can be created differently and the group-play games can be mixed in with the regular playoff-qualifying games, but major changes and sacrifices need to be made either way. The overall length of the entire season would have to be extended with additional breaks in-between as well as modifying the preseason and training camps, like schools changing to a year-round format. These changes add significant value for all parties involved, players, coaches, owners, fans, media, sponsors, etc. by generating championship moments from the very beginning of the season.

Show support with #TripleCrownSeason & #NBATournament.