Hate-Watching NBA’s In-Season Tournament: A Step-by-Step Guide

The NBA In-Season Tournament’s single elimination stage starts this week. The scoring differentials playing a role in who advances, the personalized courts playing like ice rinks, the 30-team field being whittled down to eight teams, and the sudden-death round beginning nearly a month into the tournament inspire reasons to hate it. The Indiana Pacers, Boston Celtics, Sacramento Kings and New Orleans Pelicans kick off Day 1. Each team is insufferable in their own way. Pacers play like the 2023 analog to Doug Moe’s Silent D-enver Nuggets. Celtics team is essentially Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Al Horford and a consulting firm. Jrue Holiday and Kristaps Porzingis are great for team chemistry on the floor, but they’re also operators brought in if the general manager was secretly artificial intelligence. Murphy’s Law applies to the New Orleans Pelicans. The Beam Team was a shock to the league’s system last season. Every time you look at the Kings, just remember what this could have been. The Kings wouldn’t have advanced if Golden State weren’t scurrying around trying to reach a +13 point differential. Sabonis is the other side of the Julius Randle coin. He’s efficient to a fault, measured, a non-factor defensively, and he pops up once a night to attempt one obligatory three.