The NBA In-Season Tournament Schedule Is About to Drop, but Do We Really Need the Hype?
The NBA is making something out of nothing. The schedule for the inaugural NBA In-Season Tournament will be released Tuesday, but doesn’t anyone really care? The league has already leaked the Christmas Day matchups and a handful of early-season meetings. Now the focus is on the newly formed tournament. That will be followed by the release of the full schedule, which is expected to be dropped later this week. Is there a need for all this schedule drama?
What is the NBA In-Season Tournament?
The NBA In-Season Tournament is a way for the league to try and generate some added interest before the league heats up on Christmas. It gives teams a chance to play for a championship in November and December without disrupting the regular season.
The tourney tips off Friday, Nov. 3, and ends with a championship in Las Vegas in early December. All 30 teams take part, with three sets of five times in each conference placed in groups based on their win/loss record from a year ago.
According to NBA.com, from Nov. 3 through Nov. 28, each team will play four designated Group Play games on “Tournament Nights,” and eight teams will advance to the Knockout Rounds. The three group winners and a wild card from each conference move on and will take part in the single-elimination Knockout Round. All of these games will take part in team markets and count toward their regular-season record.
These “Tournament Nights” take place on Tuesdays and Fridays in November, with the exception of Election Day on Nov. 7. The championship game is set for Dec. 9 and will take place in Las Vegas.
Is all the hype necessary?
Whether you’re in favor of the NBA In-Season Tournament or not, the hype is absurd. Sure, it’s new, and it may appeal to some, but does it require its own schedule release? The NBA is hyping up its 3 p.m. (Eastern) ESPN show that takes place Tuesday, and it’s far from necessary.
The NBA isn’t the NFL. That’s a fact and was proven last year when three meaningless NFL games stole the TV spotlight from the NBA on Christmas. The NFL makes a whole television show dedicated to its schedule release each year, but the NFL is king. Every single game in the NFL means something. Fans plan weekends around the NFL, making travel plans to see their favorite teams.
The NBA isn’t the NFL. The fact it feels the need to ignite some juice into the first two months of its season with this NBA In-Season Tournament shows an NBA schedule release isn’t worth the hype, especially when Tuesday’s show is a partial release.
Even Richard White, the father of Boston Celtics star Derrick White, took to social media recently to point out his frustration with the hype of the NBA schedule. Like most NBA fans, he’s excited for the upcoming season. In two separate posts on X (formerly Twitter), White lashed out.
“The season can’t start soon enough,” White wrote on X. “All this filler stuff is mind numbing.
“If the schedule is finalized for leaks, why not publish so can plan accordingly. We need more things to hypothesize than just random comparisons. Back to backs. Long road trips. Etc. Delaying for some grandiose reveal is as exciting as coaches in game interviews.”
He’s not wrong.