I don't hate this, because it does pretty much force teams to take every game before February like it's life or death. It places much more importance on those first 3.5 months of the season, because you have to be ready to play from the jump. And if you don't have your act together by Christmas, your playoff chances pretty much go out the window.
I'm not a fan of all of the bad teams playing each other in the final part of the season. For one, that would be a MAJOR revenue hit for those teams. Outside of hardcore fans of that team, what incentive would it be to go out and watch games vs all non-playoff competition? This season, these were the Hawks last 10 home games. Bold Green = Already played
While this doesn't look like a great home slate ( which it isn't ), Hawks fans were at least interested in a few of these games. Attendance was at 96% for the Memphis game with Ja Morant. 85% for Charlotte. And 91% for the Knick game. For the rest of the way, all of the game with the exception of Oklahoma City, and especially New Orleans ( which might be a sellout with Zion ), would probably be below 90%.
So what would attendance look like if this system in place, and the Hawks had to play these 7 teams for the next 21 games, with 3 of these teams being played twice at home?
Do fans come out for the final 1/4 of the season just to see the young Hawks play? Or do casual fans stay at home because the Hawks aren't in the playoffs, and the superstars have already come through town? Do any of these games draw 90%+ attendance, if fans know that the Hawks are completely out of the playoffs?
Of course, WE would all watch, and might even go to some of the games. And we would watch because we would want to see the continued development of the young guys. But even I wouldn't be interested in watching all of these games with me knowing that the Hawks are out. What I would be interested in, is seeing how the Hawks fared against the current playoff teams.
Here was our remaining road schedule for 2019 - 2020
Watching our young guys battle the playoff level teams, even in a loss, would be much more satisfying to me, than seeing the Hawks run through the bad teams ( if we were good enough to do so ).
That's why I would only be interested in seeing these games vs non-lottery teams, if it were set up as part of a Draft Lottery Tournament. Ditch the ping-pong balls, and let the teams decide where they are slotted. I want those games to mean something more significant than just playing for a set amount of ping-pong balls.
And like I've always said, I would much rather for a top pick to go to a borderline playoff team, or an up and coming bad team . . . than to go to the worst team in the league. The truly bad teams simply need too much all at once. That's why honestly, a guy like James Wiseman would be great for the Warriors ( who were only bad because of injury ), than going to the Knicks ( who need everything right now ).
So my compromise would be this:
- Play the 82 game regular season schedule, as is
- Playoff spots 1 - 7 in each conference get a 2 week break.
- Adopt the bubble rule: If the 9th place team is within 4 games of the 8th spot, they go into a 2 game series to determine the spot. If the 8th place team wins one of the two games, they get the spot. The 9th place team has to win both games. And in a non-bubble situation, I'd even set it where both games are played at the 8th place teams home court.
- Have the remaining playoff teams play in a Draft Lottery Tournament. I don't care how they set it up, just as long as the finalists get the #1 and #2 picks in the lottery.