NBA Must Know Football Tournament Brings Its Own Load Management Problem

Now we have a better understanding of how the NBA wants to live its normal season.

The highlights, as expected, are a shorter schedule, a tournament during the season, games for the last two berths at each conference and a replay of the last four teams in the playoffs.

Shams Charania of The Athletic described some details in a pair of tweets Friday night, and The Associated Press’ Tim Reynolds followed up with a report on the full proposal. The plan must be approved by the team owners and players.

Sources: The NBA has sent teams the 2021-22 season change proposal:
– Normal 78-game season
– Tournaments during the season ($ 1 million per player, 1.5 million buses for champions)
– Play in tournaments for 7-8 playoff seeds
– Final 4 was reinstalled into a playoff based on regular season records

– Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) December 21, 2019

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The tournament during the season is the most complicated of the proposed changes:

Sources: The NBA’s Tournament Proposal During the Season: All 30 teams from late November through mid-December:
– Divisional games (4 home, 4 away) for stage group
– 6 stage winners, plus 2 knockouts
– Quarterly in the domestic market. semifinal / final in neutral

– Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) December 21, 2019

It is worth taking the time to consider one aspect of the competition.

The NBA is modeling it on domestic tournaments of European football championships, although the NBA version will take place in a much more compressed time. AP Reynolds says the 2021 tournament, from now on, would last 25 days (November 24 through December 18). The team phase (which will be considered a regular season) will be the busiest, with eight games in 18 days (November 24 through December 11). For comparison, the Lakers played nine games from November 25 to December 11 this year.

England’s FA Cup and Carabao Cup have been going on for many months and are scheduled for the Premier League and UEFA (Champions League and Europa League).

The NBA, however, should already be aware that these competitions do not receive nearly as much respect from clubs as the Premier League or Champions League season. Winners of the home league cup enjoy the second tier of the UEFA Europa League. With fewer stakes, big and small shops use races in these races to rest the first riders and give new players experience.

A great example: Liverpool’s 5-5 draw against Arsenal in the Carabao 16th Cup round on October 30th. Reds stalwarts Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, Virgil van Dijk, Jordan Henderson and Trent Alexander-Arnold, some of whom were nurses of early childhood, all took DNPs with the club in the middle of a series of five 14 days of racing, a stretch highlighted by Champions League matches. Five of the starters of that night’s team have not yet appeared in a Premier League match this season.

Liverpool went on a penalty shoot-out but then faced a disastrous situation this week in the quarter-finals: it was scheduled to face Aston Villa the night before the FIFA Club World Cup semi-final in Qatar. Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp called on the under-23 team for the home match on Tuesday, and the outfit lost 5-0. Croatia, minus an ugly van Dijk, beat Mexico’s Monterrey 2-1 in the Middle East on Wednesday. The Reds will play Flamengo’s Brazilian side for Saturday’s title.

Liverpool’s middle week was unusual, but even if it did not face this dilemma, the home cup would still have a lower priority. Add to this the fact that this club has the chance to win the Premier League, repeat the Champions League and claim the Club World Cup at the same time and the focus is even clearer.

This mindset helps us get to the main point here: It’s not unreasonable to expect some NBA teams to rely on backup and two-way players in at least some team games, even if they count in the rankings. It is not difficult to imagine that some franchises will remain dedicated to load management in November and December, especially those expecting to make deep playoffs.

Will the league’s pressure groups not do this as they try to keep the event relevant? Could some players push back and stick to the game, given that a seven-digit prize is at stake? Should the league raise the prize money to encourage participation?

These questions will not be answered immediately, as much still needs to happen to make the in-season tournaments a reality, but they will have to be addressed. The answers could help determine if all teams buy into the league’s drive to boost its regular season.

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