Saturday afternoon marked a milestone in the world of professional basketball. At the NBA2K24 Summer League, the National Basketball Association (NBA) formally introduced its revolutionary in-season tournament, the NBA Cup.
This fresh innovation has stirred a flurry of anticipation among teams, fans, and stakeholders alike, promising to invigorate the league with a novel approach to the beloved game.
A Long-Awaited Innovation Comes to Fruition
The concept of the in-season tournament has been incubating within the league's strategic thinking for approximately 15 years, according to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.
During a special episode of "NBA Today" at the NBA Convention in Las Vegas, Silver spoke of the new tournament, noting that the NBA's global stature makes it the perfect platform for such an innovation. "We thought what a perfect opportunity for a global league like the NBA, and it's a perfect fit for our game," Silver said.
"New traditions take time. But, all throughout sports, we are seeing new innovations, and now is the time for this NBA in-season tournament." Evan Wasch, the NBA's Executive Vice President of Basketball Strategy and Analytics, was a pivotal figure behind this monumental shift.
He reassured teams that the league is dedicated to minimizing the strain of back-to-back games within the tournament format. "We made a commitment to teams that we would do everything in our power to avoid the group play games being the second night of back-to-backs," Wasch said.
"While it's likely that some games will fall on the first night of back-to-backs, we're striving to avoid scheduling them on the second night."
Meet the Competing Groups
In the NBA Cup, teams will be segmented into six competitive groups.
The groups are as follows: Group 1 comprises the Philadelphia 76ers, Cleveland Cavaliers, Atlanta Hawks, Indiana Pacers, and Detroit Pistons. Group 2 includes the Milwaukee Bucks, New York Knicks, Miami Heat, Washington Wizards, and Charlotte Hornets.
The Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Toronto Raptors, Chicago Bulls, and Orlando Magic make up Group 3, while Group 4 consists of the Memphis Grizzlies, Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers, Utah Jazz, and Portland Trail Blazers.
The Denver Nuggets, LA Clippers, New Orleans Pelicans, Dallas Mavericks, and Houston Rockets form Group 5, and rounding off with Group 6, are the Sacramento Kings, Golden State Warriors, Minnesota Timberwolves, Oklahoma City Thunder, and San Antonio Spurs.