There were a lot of questions surrounding the NBA’s In-Season Tournament when it was originally announced, but by all accounts, it has been a huge success so far. Darvin Ham and the Los Angeles Lakers find themselves in Las Vegas for the semi-finals where they will take on the New Orleans Pelicans.
Many have spoken about the overall intensity of the games and the playoff-like atmosphere that the players are enjoying. There is also a financial incentive to winning this tournament, and Ham believes that is key to keeping the players motivated.
When asked how the league could look to improve the tournament moving forward, the Lakers coach had a simple answer.
“Yeah, add more money to the purse … Once I reflect, I’m sure I can come up with something, but right now just add more money to the purse.”
Money is always a motivating factor to anyone so Ham isn’t wrong in that. Other suggestions for future tournaments have included the possibility of something that could give a team a playoff-seeding advantage or something of that nature. Ham isn’t opposed to that idea either but still feels more money helps.
“Possibly. Possibly that’s something definitely that should be looked at,” the Lakers coach added. “Maybe it’s some type of draft compensation as well as the purse, I don’t know, something like that. I think it would be cool.
“But if you want the players to play at an extremely high level, increase the purse.”
Players across the league have talked about the intensity of these games and the excellent atmosphere surrounding everything, and more money would undoubtedly allow for that to continue. And being able to experience that is great for the younger players on the team as well.
Ham noted that the Lakers’ young players have been extremely engaged on the bench and talking about the effort of the players after these games. The Lakers coach feels that these games are showing the young guys exactly what it takes to succeed at the highest level.
“That’s the thing, the main key thing that they need to see as young, upcoming, potential regular pros, perennial pros I should say,” Ham said. “If they want to have any type of longevity in this business on the court, you first look at the effort that it takes, the competitive spirit of the guys that you look up to that necessarily don’t have to play that hard they think, just can rely on talent. Well, that’s not the case.
“This type of environment brings out your competitive spirit, and I think first and foremost — the money is great. We all laugh and joke about the money, and the money is always the focus. But really as a professional, you look at the approach, the mental approach, the competitive spirit, and again, the effort that’s given throughout the course of the game possession by possession.”
Many young players are taken aback when they first make the playoffs at the increase in effort, competition and intensity. But this In-Season Tournament is giving them a feel for how things go on that stage and what they need to do in order to have the type of career they want moving forward.
Anthony Davis expects a Lakers home game for In-Season Tournament in Las Vegas
The next In-Season Tournament game for the Lakers is the semi-finals against the Pelicans which takes place in Las Vegas. And Anthony Davis expects the Lakers fans who notoriously travel well, to provide a home atmosphere for them.
“Yeah, Laker fans travel well anyway wherever we go. We feel like wherever we go, it’s a home game for us,” Davis said. “But the tournament has been cool. Obviously, we didn’t know how to be going into it, but it’s going pretty well. The atmosphere around the games have been very competitive. Obviously, the color schemes on the court have been pretty dope to see.
“But it’s been good. Four left. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be even crazier as far as the atmosphere and the competitiveness and the intensity tomorrow night.”