Cuban: “I can’t hate an in-season winner take all tournament enough.”

Cuban: “I can’t hate an in-season winner take all tournament enough.”

The NBA has a rating problem, the numbers are down double digits across the board, and something needs to change. Adam Silver took this trend seriously and will suggest changes to the NBA schedule with one change raising most eyebrows – an in-season tournament, similar to cup competitions in soccer. 

The current NBA structure incentivizes two things – being a contender or an ultimate loser. The worse place you can be is in the middle – not good enough to be a serious opponent in the playoffs, not bad enough to get a high draft pick. Just ask Detroit and Orlando. Add the fact we only appreciate rings, and you get a bastardized regular season. If we are not competing, might as well put our 23-year-old star on a minutes restriction – we save his body from wear and tear, and lose more games to get a higher draft pick. 

That’s why Adam Silver is suggesting an in-season tournament. Something to fight for and look forward to even if you don’t have Giannis or LeBron on your team. A single-elimination tournament would create March Madness level of drama, and every fan could hope their team might just have a chance. Makes sense, right?

If you make the players care and take the tournament seriously, the players will tune in to watch. We don’t need another All-Star game. The league’s solution for motivation is money. The only thing is, players you want to try and care about, the superstars, don’t need an extra million, they need NBA rings. In addition, Cuban is correct that the extra draft pick that’s been rumored isn’t necessarily a great thing.

This is what happens when you add an extra element into a dysfunctional system trying to fix a much bigger issue. You can’t solve a regular-season problem that’s a combination of too many games, a draft structure that incentivizes being bad, salary cap rules with many limitations by adding a midseason tournament.

Let’s be clear, Adam Silver trying to change things is good – he knows the NBA has a regular-season problem. This attempt shows us he still didn’t succeed in addressing the real issue – cutting down the number of regular-season games. When team owners accept the fact that the best way for their team valuation to grow is to have fewer games that people actually care about, we will get to the heart of the issue.

New rims on a 30-year-old car that’s slowly breaking down maybe make it look better in the parking lot, but when it’s time to drive all the problems are still gonna be there.