Now that it’s been a while since the final, we can go ahead and make our NBA In-Season Tournament review.
The sole thought of an In-Season Tournament was a bit of an odd idea for NBA fans, but Commissioner Adam Silver did just what he needed to do to get the players to buy in: He offered them $500,000 so they could actually take regular-season games seriously.
NBA In-Season Tournament review
The tournament has drawn mixed reviews, but the numbers don’t lie, and numbers show that it was a massive success for the league. In fact, the final was the most-watched non-Christmas regular-season game in the past six years.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the five most remarkable things we saw in the inaugural IST.
Colorful Courts Are A Thing
For better or for worse, the colorful courts were most definitely one of the main highlights of NBA IST. Love them or hate them, everybody had something to say about these courts, and while some were actually tough to watch, others made a great contrast with the team’s jerseys.
It was nice to see a bit of a tweak for a change. It gave games a different feel, and it really made it seem like there was an entirely different tournament or league. At times, it seemed like you were playing a video game with real-life players.
Bucks Can Be Beaten
The Milwaukee Bucks entered the season as the team to beat in the Eastern Conference. Adding Damian Lillard to the team with the best record in the league made it seem like only they could stop them from making it to the NBA Finals.
However, the In-Season Tournament proved that they’re nowhere near a finished product. They can be had, and they struggle mightily when they’re forced to run up and down the court. Defense is a major issue for Adrian Griffin‘s team, and the Indiana Pacers did a great job of exposing them.
What Is Zion Made Of?
It’s not just that the New Orleans Pelicans didn’t even show up in the semifinal. It wasn’t the blowout or the loss but how poorly Zion Williamson played in the most important game of his career. Likewise, the fact that this was the most important game in his career shed light on how much of a bust he’s been.
It seems like no one expects Zion to be healthy anymore. They don’t even expect him to be in shape, and that’s perhaps the saddest thing one could say about a professional athlete. He’s still great, incredibly talented, and could have a solid career, but ‘solid’ isn’t what one expected from him.
Tyrese Haliburton Introduces Himself To The Crowd
Tyrese Haliburton is a superstar in the making, and he proved it on the biggest stage. He showed that he’s not the future of the league; he’s the present. Haliburton has been playing like the best point guard in the world this season, and the IST gave him a platform to showcase his skills.
We’re talking about a young man posting Stephen Curry‘s efficiency numbers from all three levels, all while averaging Steve Nash‘s kind of numbers as a playmaker. There’s nothing easy about handing out 13 dimes with no turnovers.
Another Accolade For LeBron
And last but not least, the greatest among the greatest small forwards in NBA history got another accolade to add to his résumé. His fans will talk about this for years, even though, in all honesty, it’s not that impressive to win this tournament, especially not for the Lakers.
But even if you’re not a LeBron fan, the fact that he keeps adding on to his résumé is just admirable at this point. Of course, this means almost nothing, and it’s nothing compared to an actual championship, but let’s enjoy LeBron’s career while we still can.