NBA Looking To Fix Its Games….. Not The Refs This Time
The NBA season is only 16 games in for most teams which means there’s 66 regular season match ups remaining but let’s be honest basketball fans, If we miss 15-25 games does that actually mean anything? Not really which is unfortunate for the NBA owners and networks that show the games. According to Sports Media Watch, nationally televised games average 1.45 million viewers. That’s down 18% from a year ago. At the start of the season, the league has different things to contend with. MLB’s postseason is playing its league championship series and World Series, the NFL has Thursday night football and Monday night football plus the Sunday slate and college football is popular everywhere except New England.
As with any sports group when viewership goes down, there are steps taken to try and get it back up. The NBA is set to look into ways to gain viewership including playoff play-ins and a mid-season tournament plus potential playoff reseeding.
The mid-season tournament that is being proposed would involve all 30 NBA teams (Obviously there would have to be a way to figure out byes). This a classic case of positive-negative as low viewership areas would be involved like Phoenix, Sacramento, and yes even the New York Knicks which would be a positive for a league that is currently lacking viewers. The negative? Teams like the Bucks, 76ers, Lakers and Clippers wouldn’t really need to worry about the tournament because they would have their sights set on May and June. There haven’t been any details on rewards released, but to interest your top-tier teams and your tanking franchises add some draft scenarios. One idea I would use would be the winner gets a certain amount of lottery combos which is how the number one team is determined in the draft added to what they have. If teams don’t want the “rich getting richer” then the lower achieving teams need to go beat them in a single elimination tournament.
The playoff play-in that is getting discussed would have the seven seed playing the eight seed in each conference for the seven seed and the nine seed would play the ten seed for the eighth and final spot. This would make the season mean more for a lot more NBA teams and more importantly would mean less tanking. This would be interesting if it was a one and done scenario or even a best of three, but of course this is all still getting discussed.
Right now those match ups in the East would be
Brooklyn vs Orlando for the 7 Seed
Detroit vs Washington for the 8 Seed
And in the West:
Minnesota vs Phoenix for the 7 Seed
Oklahoma City vs. Sacramento for the 8 Seed
Where this all gets interesting is with the topic of playoff reseeding. What would happen is the first two rounds of the conference playoffs would take place as they always have, but where this gets fun is when we get to the conference finals the teams get realigned by their wins. This will ensure the NBA gets the best finals match up possible. This would never work if the league went 1-16 because of travel time and of course the TV networks, but with four it’s a little more feasible.
These are all being discussed with a potential start season of 2021-22 so there is still time to iron out the details, but what this proves is the NBA is listening. The key for the league is to get viewers to watch all 82 games and playoffs. Making all fanbases feel like they have something to play for will start to tilt the proverbial viewing scale in favor of the NBA. I like all of these because of the potential effect these could have on teams like the Celtics or even say a team that has a player missing numerous strings of games like the Brooklyn Nets. If draft picks are on the line would a player like Kyrie continue to miss games or would he play? The same could be said for a player like Zion and the Pelicans.
Either way something has to be done to make the NBA watchable for not just a night here or there but every night. Fans want change, how about the owners?
John Luck (@jluck_89)