TOP TEAMS SUGGESTED A FEW ADVANTAGES to regain home-court advantage

TOP TEAMS SUGGESTED A FEW ADVANTAGES to regain home-court advantage

People often ask GM’s what they should do to become a GM one day. The honest answer should be: get a psych test. If you turn out to be dysfunctionally competitive, there’s something there. In almost any other profession, being so competitive and obsessive would be considered a negative thing. But in sports, we glorify it. Sometimes, it gets out of hand. 

The NBA Board of Governors is expected to approve a plan for 22 teams to return and finish the season. An 8 game regular season finish, a potential play-in series, and NBA playoffs in Orlando, Florida. From the beginning, we knew Adam Silver would have to pick a lesser evil whatever he proposes, and the main criteria has to be safety. This won’t be fair and balanced. Some teams will have a harder schedule than others. 

One other thing affected is home-court advantage. In addition to playing a lower seed (which in general means a weaker opponent), the benefit of being a top seed team is home-court advantage. You’d think organizations would just accept these are exceptional circumstances, and home-court just won’t be a factor. That’s why you’re not a GM. According to Dave McMenamin, top teams floated ideas to somehow compensate for losing home-court advantage. 

  • The higher-seeded team being awarded the first possession of the second, third, and fourth quarters, following the traditional jump ball to begin the game.

  • The higher-seeded team being allowed to designate one player to be able to be whistled for seven fouls instead of six before fouling out.

  • The higher-seeded team receiving an extra coach’s challenge.

  • The higher-seeded teams being able to transport their actual hardwood home court from their arenas to Orlando to try to preserve the feel of their home playing experience.

  • An off-court feature in which playoff teams, in order of seeding 1-16, receive first choice on picking which hotel they will stay at in the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and Disney World Resort. ESPN is owned by the Walt Disney Co.

It would be sad if it weren’t funny. They had to have known this doesn’t stand a chance, but a GM’s mind works differently than ours. Any rule that impacts what happens on the court, the extra ball possession, one player getting an extra foul, and getting an extra coach’s challenge, is overkill. You can’t get such an advantage just because the game is not played in from of your fans. 

Flying in hardwood “to preserve the feel” couldn’t possibly significantly impact performance. In addition, the idea is to reduce people coming in and out of the restricted area to a minimum. All the logistics around it don’t seem conducive to COVID-19 precautions. 

The hotel thing, I guess. All this goes to show that people in professional sports obsess over everything they can control that can give them an edge, however small it is. (The NFL is still the most absurd league in that regard) Despite the fact we have civil unrest and a pandemic claiming lives every day, someone thought about flying in hardwood so a player may feel a bit more comfortable playing in an empty gym. 

Remember, we are talking about the top teams. I’m no analytics guru, but I’d say having Giannis, LeBron, Kawhi, and other superstars are still the primary variable in winning a basketball game. Do we need to give them an extra foul?