NBA May Take Mid-Season Tourney Cue from Europe
The European sports world has its priorities straight.
Winning a league championship means something.
Yes, the North Americans offer higher pay packages for the top spots, but their season titlist get smaller rings and most observers only consider first-place finishes as seeding advantages for the playoffs. In contrast, the Europeans give teams that prevail over a long campaign the glory it deserves. Take FC Barcelona, for example:
When is the last time you saw scenes like that after a league championship?
- 1904, when there was no World Series?
- 1931, when the Green Bay Packers finished at 12-2-0?
- And never for the NHL and NBA?
Playoffs are so ingrained in North American sports -- and so profitable -- that they're here to stay. One of their unfortunate by-products, though, is dog days, the mid-season malaise that often sucks energy out of teams and interest out of fans.
The solution? Well, the NBA thinks Europe has it.
The possibilites are enticing. For example, the league's considerations include:
- Making it a one-and-done that even fares well on the western side of the Atlantic.
- Inviting a few illustrious teams from Europe and South America.
- Making it a week or a couple of weeks in Las Vegas or the Bahamas.
Currently, both NBA and NHL teams have 82-game schedules. The NHL has proven its versatility in Olympic years, when it clears two weeks to accommodate the IIHF's showcase tournament. It would be a simple matter for the NBA to do the same.
One drawback is attrition. The concurrent competitions do take their toll. European soccer conferences, for example, consist of 40-or-so matches. Additional tournament commitments can double their itineraries. However, the model being considered by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver seems to have innate parameters that most likely would only add 4-10 games -- depending on the format -- to the menu.
It's an idea too good to not happen.