Picture this: The NCAA Tournament, except the players don’t know each other at all, are actually competing against their own teammates, desperately need jobs, and are allowed 10 fouls per game. Oh, and the tournament winner get’s their expenses partially compensated. No, not the players, the owner gets the prize. Wait, that isn’t like the NCAA Tournament at all. Here’s how Ric Bucher describes it on CSNBayArea.com:
“Under the new format, all competing teams will begin play within the first or second day of the schedule and have three specific games. The top teams will then be granted a bye while the remaining teams face off. The winners then advance to an eight-team, single-elimination playoff series. The hope is that the heightened competition and suspense will draw a TV audience that potentially could offset the cost of two weeks in Las Vegas.”
Basically, this tournament will incentivize owners to rig the Summer League so that teams actually have a shot. This means more legitimate NBA players on the court and fewer foreign freak show long shots for them to dunk on. It also means that, assuming a premium will be placed on “winning” as opposed to “scouting,” there will be fewer chances for the Jeremy Lins of the world. If you’ll remember, Vegas was where he got his career started. They’re essentially trying to legitimize what is, fundamentally, a tryout. It’s like when MLB turned the All-Star game into the determining factor for World Series home field advantage. Hopefully we get some better, exciting July basketball out of all this, though we’ll never know when the next Jeremy Lin slips through the NBA’s fingers.