Connect with us

Phoenix Suns

Devin Booker Likes Point Differential Aspect of In-Season Tournament

© Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA introduced the In-Season Tournament this season and with that has come something new to play for: point differential.

Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!

In the tournament format, there are three outright winners of three groups in each conference and a sole wild card spot that is likely to be decided by point differential. The first tiebreaker is record and the second is this point differential. The outright winners of groups are also decided by point differential if three teams in the group finish with a 3-1 record. These three group winners and the wild card team next play in a single-elimination knockout stage which ultimately concludes with the championship.

Whichever team wins the In-Season Tournament, every player and coach gets a cash prize of $500,000.

For example, in terms of point differential, the Suns finished with a 3-1 record with a +34 point differential and did not win their group. If the Rockets hadn’t lost on Tuesday, Phoenix would have only gotten this spot by a single point differential over the Pelicans (+33), who were also 3-1. However, New Orleans ended up winning the group with the Houston lost.

There have been plenty of players and coaches who have expressed displeasure with the point differential aspect.

For example, Celtics’ star Jayson Tatum said that it was disrespectful to the game and the opponent.

The Celtics then had to go out in their next game and try to run up the score on the Chicago Bulls. They did so by purposely fouling Andre Drummond in the fourth quarter despite being up big. Celtics’ coach Joe Mazzula then had to explain to Bulls’ coach Billy Donovan why he was doing so.

“They’ve got to deal with the rules too,” Donovan said after the game. “If they’re trying to get into Vegas, there’s things they got to do and for me, it was just the fouling.”

There have been multiple other instances where coaches and players have gotten mad about the point differential.


Devin Booker’s Thoughts

As for the Suns, Devin Booker banked in a three pointer on the Suns’ final offensive possession in Phoenix’s last group play game last Friday. This single basket would have decided their fate if the Pelicans did not end up winning their group.

After the game, Booker explained: “No disrespect to the Grizzlies. I wouldn’t take that shot if it wasn’t an In-Season Tournament, but we needed it.”

Booker doubled down on his sentiment for the the point differential and then some after Phoenix’s loss last night to the Toronto Raptors.

“I’ve seen teams upset about it, I don’t know why,” Booker said to AZ Central’s Duane Rankin. “I’ve seen players upset about it, I don’t know why. Honestly, I wish every game was like that where you could play until the end, and it wasn’t viewed as disrespectful. Just high competition.”

Booker added: “If everybody’s under the same impression that you’re playing to the end, then it will never be a problem.”

Here’s what Kevin Durant thinks about the tournament, saying the NBA is trying to get fans more involved for regular season games:

We will see if the NBA makes any changes going forward for this tournament. Besides Booker, it seems like most players don’t like the point differential rule. However, overall, it seems like the tournament has been a success.

Devin Booker made it clear that players care about the In-Season Tournament

*Get the BEST Phoenix sports insider information, exclusive content, and access to our seasonal magazines! SIGN UP HERE to unlock our premium content!*

Brendan Mau is a senior writer covering the Phoenix Suns and more for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on X via @Brendan_Mau

More in Phoenix Suns