In-Season Tournament Doesn't Excite Harden, Tucker

Rockets players don't sound receptive to a proposed in-season tournament

Adam Spolane
November 26, 2019 - 2:47 pm
harden, tucker

Photo by Troy Taormina/USA Todayo

HOUSTON (SportsRadio 610)- While playing and coaching in Europe, Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni became used to being involved in midseason tournaments.

"That's hard, it's not easy emotionally," D'Antoni said Tuesday. "We would have about four championships within the year, and so there's a lot of times you'd come off losing a final in March, European final, and then the next game was a game you need to win in the regular season, and so your energy comes down, makes it tough to keep emotionally up every game."

ESPN reported over the weekend that along with reducing the schedule to 78 games, re-seeding the remaining playoff teams in the conference finals, and holding a tournament to decide the final two playoff spots in each conference, the NBA has discussed playing an in-season tournament, similar to what's done in Europe. 

"It is exciting," D'Antoni added. "It's exciting for the fans. You can bum out on one thing and yet win two other things, which is cool."

D'Antoni won 17 cups and championships as a player and coach in Europe. He was quite effusive when asked if those in-season tournaments mattered to him back then.

"Heck yeah you cared about them because you don't know if you're going to win the big one.

"If you win a cup at the end of the year it's pretty successful."

Needless to say, D'Antoni's players did not show the same enthusiasm when asked about the prospect of playing a tournament within the NBA season.

"Are we in college?" James Harden asked. "Is this college?"

In his five seasons playing overseas, Rockets forward P.J. Tucker exeperienced in-season tournaments first hand, but on Tuesday he didn't sound like someone who is anxious to go through them again.

"It's just more games...I doubt it will ever get to that."

Of the four changes reportedly proposed by the NBA the in-season tournament is met with the most skepticism, and Tucker explained why.

"You're fighting for an NBA championship, I don't want to play for anything else. What else is there? There's nothing else. It's like a consolation or something? You play NBA games to win an NBA championship. Period."