The Student News Site of Archbishop Mitty High School

The Monarch

The Student News Site of Archbishop Mitty High School

The Monarch

The Student News Site of Archbishop Mitty High School

The Monarch

The Pros and Cons of the NBA In-Season Tournament

The tournament has been hyped up for months by the NBA, but concerns about its role in the NBA season have raised doubts.
C. Morgan Engel/Getty Images
The In-Season Tournament tipped off on Nov. 3

Hey basketball fans, are you excited for the NBA In-Season Tournament? 


Well, neither are any of the players. The NBA’s new attempt at innovation, the In-Season Tournament, has been met with a surprising lack of enthusiasm from the athletes. Just like the Soccer World Cup, the In-Season Tournament puts teams into a group stage where they have to lead their groups in order to make it to the playoffs. But, players and fans around the league don’t know how to feel. While there is some excitement, it is not nearly as much as the NBA would have wanted.

This is not surprising as the tournament is just an attempt to make regular season games more entertaining and meaningful. Multiple players, including the infamous Dillon Brooks, have said they do not care about the In-Season Tournament and are more focused on the NBA Championship in June.

Even the Celtics, who advanced to the quarterfinals, didn’t seem to care. Jaylen Brown, a premier player on the team, told reporters when asked if he was excited to play that, “I wouldn’t choose the word excited, but ready.”

Boston Celtics’ Jaylen Brown chases the ball ahead of Brooklyn Nets’ Royce O’Neale during the first half of an NBA basketball in-season tournament game, Friday, Nov. 10, 2023, in Boston. (Michael Dwyer/AP Photo)

Players have treated these games as normal regular season games, as that is essentially what they are. There is no real reward or honor associated with winning an in-season tournament. In fact, there might even be a downside to making it to the In-Season Tournament finals. This may seem counterintuitive, but the semifinals and finals of the tournament do not count as regular season games; they are just two extra games added onto the season for teams that make it. No team wants to play two extra games that realistically don’t have any consequences except for making players fatigued or injured.

Moreover, all of this is just for a cash prize of  $500,000 dollars per player. Let’s be honest, Stephen Curry, who makes 52 million dollars a year, does not care about $500,000 dollars tacked onto his salary. Additionally, there is a real possibility that coaches may choose to rest their star players in these games to avoid injury. Adam Silver should focus on increasing the cash prize or pursuing different avenues in the tournament if he really wants increased engagement from players. 

However, while players might not be thrilled with the NBA’s most recent addition to the season, fans and analysts are, resulting in a variety of predictions for the tournament. The fan excitement and engagement was obvious in Indiana’s win over Boston in the quarterfinals. A thrilling finish combined with a near 30 point triple double from superstar guard Tyrese Haliburton lifted the Pacers to the semi-finals. The end of the game saw Indiana go on a run to seal the victory, but the part that stood out most were the crowd’s reactions. The cheering and hollering during their run made it obvious that this meant more to the fans than the average regular season game. The exuberant reactions by the audience gave the game a playoff-like atmosphere. Considering the NBA’s main goal with the tournament was to increase fan-engagement during the season, it’s safe to say they achieved that in spades, regardless of how the players feel.

Tyrese Haliburton celebrates after the Pacers beat the Boston Celtics and move on to Vegas. (Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images)

Now as for the tournament itself, to achieve success in it many factors such as availability, efficiency, and strength of schedule, need to be considered. A team with absolutely no expectations could randomly get hot for a month of the season and win it all, or a team could be out of contention due to injuries and load management sidelining their star players. Given that this is the first time in NBA history such a contest has been implemented, it’s nearly impossible to predict a winner. That said, there is a team that stands out and a few stars that will shine bright this season.

One of the favorites, and our pick to win the tournament, the Milwaukee Bucks have an outstanding chance of winning the competition as long as they stay healthy. With the recent addition of superstar guard Damian Lillard, the Bucks sit at 3rd in the Eastern Conference and look like a fantastic pick to win both the In-Season tournament and the NBA championship. They were 4-0 in the group stage and haven’t even reached their full potential yet. Once Dame and Giannis start to click, there’s no one who can stop this team off the pick and roll. They already trounced the Knicks in the quarterfinals and made Julius Randle’s 41 point night seem pedestrian in the face of their juggernaut offensive unit. The deadly duo of Dame and Giannis could take the spotlight in the bright lights of Vegas.

Giannis and the Bucks beat the Wizards by 3 in the in-season tournament


Predictions aside, the new In-Season Tournament is an impossible-to-predict competition. With the explosion of talent across the league; for good or for bad, this NBA season will be one for the record books.

*Editor’s Note: LeBron and the Lakers won it because of course they did. The beat the Cinderella Story Pacers as Anthony Davis put up 40 points and 20 rebounds. LeBron was named the tournament MVP*