I think I may have come up with an air-tight Regular Season solution to (a) lackluster fan engagement, (b) DNP-Old/Rest Games, and (c) teams tanking. It has nothing to do with an in-season tournament (which I believe is utterly stupid), and it has nothing to do with financial compensation.
It has everything to do with winning in the playoffs.
First, here's the scheduling proposal: Break the regular season down to 4 smaller "mini-seaons." Keep the old 8-seed playoff model in each conference:
- 1st Quarter from October 24-December 25 = 28 games each.
- 2nd Quarter from December 26-February 15 (All Star Break). 24 games each.
- 3rd Quarter from February 22-March 20. 16 games each.
- 4th Quarter from March 21-April 14. 14 games each.
Here's where it gets fun.....
1. POINTS-BASED STANDINGS FOR PLAYOFF SEEDINGS
Wherever the team is seeded after each mini-season, they gain (or lose) points for the final standings. So, even if a team would have been "out of it" by the All Star break, or way ahead in the standings, there's incentive to try in the 2nd Half. Here's a proposed breakdown:
- 1st Seed = 35 points
- 2nd Seed = 30 points
- 3rd Seed = 25 points
- 4th Seed = 20 points
- 5th Seed = 15 points
- 6th Seed = 10 points
- 7th Seed = 5 points
- 8th Seed = 0 points
- 9th Seed = -5 points
- 10th Seed = -10 points
- 11th Seed = -15 points
- 12th Seed = -20 points
- 13th Seed = -25 points
- 14th Seed = -30 points
- 15th Seed = -35 points
But wait! There's MORE!
2. TRUE PLAYOFF INCENTIVES!
The higher seed for each playoff matchup gets a whopping 6-1 home playoff advantage each round. This not only incentivizes the players, it also incentivizes the organization, as they make a ton of money with home games. Players love it with much less travel. Start each series with the first game at the lower seed, and have the final games in the series at the higher seed.
For the Finals, the higher seed gets the traditional 4-3 advantage. Seeding tie-breaker goes to the team with the highest overall points. (If somehow tied, maybe go with the team with the lowest salary???)
Now for the Grand Finale.....
3. A TRUE DRAFT LOTTERY!
All non-playoff teams have an equal shot for a Top 5 pick. After this, it goes in order of MOST overall points. (That's right, teams are actually REWARDED for trying!) This incentivizes teams to avoid tanking, creating 4 mini-seasons of valuable basketball.
What do you all think? Am I crazy? Or would this actually WORK?!