The league introduced their brand new In-Season Tournament during the inaugural NBA Con at Las Vegas Summer League. This new tournament will shake up the format of the traditional schedule as the association looks to generate more interest in the first half of the regular season.
Akin to European soccer tournaments like the Champions League, the In-Season Tournament will split each conference into three groups of five teams. These teams will play games against each other that count toward their group record. The team with the best record in each group, as well as one wild card from each conference, will advance to the single-game elimination tournament. The semifinals and finals will be in Las Vegas, with players on the championship team winning $500,000 in prize money.
With the format set and the groups drawn, how will this impact the Spurs this upcoming season?
1.) New Conference Rivalries
The NBA announced the groups when they unveiled the In-Season Tournament, with the San Antonio Spurs joining the Golden State Warriors, Sacramento Kings, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Oklahoma City Thunder in West C for the group stage. None of these teams are in the Southwest Division, giving the Silver and Black a golden opportunity to forge new rivalries within their conference.
As part of the group stage, the Spurs will play each of these teams once. They will host the Kings and Timberwolves and visit the Thunder and Warriors. Last season, San Antonio went 3-11 against these teams, and they will have to step up if they want to advance to the knockout round of the tournament. But with major additions to their roster, this will be first major test for the new-look Spurs.