IF the NBA and NHL come back, here is a proposal for a World Cup-style tourney to determine the champs

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Let's face it; we probably aren't getting sports back any time soon. Baseball has no shortage of plans, including this intriguing one, and football still has some time. The NBA and NHL might simply just be screwed at this stage.

But there might be a way to at least crown a champion in each league by doing something somewhat radical. Why not a World Cup/Olympic style single elimination tournament in each? If the leagues worked together, the elimination rounds could be on separate days, so fans would have almost two full weeks of sports. Obviously there would be no fans, but the TV numbers would be huge. The single elimination (after a round robin first round) would make every game meaningful. It would appeal to the NBA's desire to have some kind of in-season tournament, only this time it would be there to determine a champion. For the NHL, it would create in some interest in a sport that is desperate for it.


First, this is purely speculation. I realize there is almost no way this could work. but for the sake of having a little fun, In our format, there would be four, five-team World Cup style "pods." You would start with the 16 teams currently in the playoffs and add the next two in each conference to get to 20. Each "pod" would feature a four-game round robin, with seedings for the elimination rounds based on the results.

From there, you play a 16-team, single elimination tournament. Each round would have a day off in between, where the other league would play its games.

Each round of games would take place in one venue.


You could not really match pods by current seedings, because you would want things as geographically close as possible, so that the first round matchups could be played in one place. Based on the standings when the season ended, your pods would look something like this:

WEST A (Staples Center)






WEST B (American Airlines Center, Dallas)

Oklahoma City




New Orleans (wins tiebreaker over Sacramento based on head to head)

One team in each pod would be eliminated. The second round single elimination would feature:

WA1 vs. WB4

WA2 vs. WB 3

WB2 vs. WA3

WB1 vs. WA4

Ideally, all the remaining rounds would be at one venue, likely Staples Center, although California law might require Dallas to be the site. It really doesn't matter where, as long as they are all in the same place.

You would play down to one team, which would face the East champ, which would go through the same process. Here is how the East would look:

EAST A (TD Garden, Boston)






EAST B (Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee)






The knockout round would be as follows, ideally one spot, perhaps Madison Square Garden? Again, no fans, so it really doesn't matter:

EA1 vs. EB4

EA2 vs. EB 3

EB2 vs. EA3

EB1 vs. EA4

Is it fair that some of these pods feature more good teams than others? Not really, but keep in mind everyone advances except for one team, and the first round is for seeding. Obviously the West A and East A groups are tougher, but that happens in the World Cup all the time. This way, you keep the conference model, and your one-game championship features the West champ vs. the East champ.


Keep in mind, exact same format, sticking primarily to the divisions:

EAST A (BB&T Center, Florida) (Insert your, Panthers are the perfect host for no fans because joke here)






EAST B (Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia)





NY Islanders

Knockout round:

EA1 vs. EB4

EA2 vs. EB 3

EB2 vs. EA3

EB1 vs. EA4

WEST A (Pepsi Center, Colorado)

St. Louis





WEST B (T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas_

Las Vegas





Knockout round:

WA1 vs. WB4

WA2 vs. WB 3

WB2 vs. WA3

WB1 vs. WA4

In both leagues, the 1-4 winners face the 2-3 winners, then the semifinals, then the finals. Vegas would be the perfect host stadium.

One you are into the elimination rounds, imagine the intensity of those games. Sure, you could ride a hot goalie all the way to a championship. But that has happened in the Olympics as well. Is it perfect? No. Is anything these days? But if it makes sense from a health perspective, it might be a nice way to crown a 2020 champ NCAA tourney/World Cup style, give us a little taste of sports and not mess up scheduling for the 2021 season. Plus, from a selfish standpoint, it gives us something to watch (and bet on). Practice time would not be a huge issue, because you use a week to get in shape and then the round robin is also used somewhat as practice.

Would the champions be comparable to winners of four seven-game series? No, and in a perfect world, that's what we would get. But if you haven't noticed, this is pretty far from a perfect world.

Anyway, it will never happen, but it is always fun to speculate. Besides, what else is there to do right now?

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The Rockets selected Jalen Green with the No. 2 pick. Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images.

The city of Houston can finally rejoice as Jalen Green was selected as the number two pick by the Rockets at the 2021 NBA Draft. It was already suspected that the Rockets would draft Green from past reports. Shams Charania of The Athletic already reported that the Rockets narrowed their decision down to Green.

Green is an explosive shooting guard that can get in-and-out amongst the perimeter and paint. With the G-League Ignite, he averaged 17.9 points, 2.8 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. He is an excellent free throw shooter at 82.9 percent. Like James Harden, he is incredibly good at getting to the free throw line. Green has a good trigger from three by shooting 36.5 percent on 5.7 attempts a game. His mature status since high school has prepared him for the NBA.

"His down-hill playmaking is really hard to guard", as Joey Fucca, his ex-coach told TDS. "If he says he's going to get to the rim, good luck. He is very good at getting to the free throw line, he is also very explosive to finish above the rim. When his three ball is on, you're just going to have a long night. I wouldn't be excited to guard him."

Green has blistering speed with outstanding handles to blow by his defenders and score. Spectators have compared Green to a younger Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady, Bradley Beal, and Zach Lavine, which are superstar players. He is a particularly good midrange shooter underneath the perimeter, as he shot 35 percent on a small quantity of attempts in a shorter season.

"Jalen is a uniquely blessed guy. He's a transcendent athlete," as Rockets GM Rafael Stone said. "He can handle the ball, and he can shoot. Normally, people that athletic aren't as skilled. We think that combination of tools makes him an extraordinarily exciting prospect."

During his press conference on Thursday night, Green emphasized the achievements he wants to accomplish with the Rockets. Green even discussed his desire of being a better defender, as he wants to continue to get better. He has a great wingspan and lateral movement to stay with opposing players on defense and be disruptive in the passing lanes.

"They're going to say it's a great choice," Green said. "Rookie of the Year, All-Star, All-Defense, max contract. We're doing it big."

"Yeah, I think I can be that piece. I think I'm going to bring that dominant mentality, that defensive mindset…They already got a lot of star players"

As the draft continued, the Rockets sent future draft picks from the Wizards to land the 16th pick in the draft, which was 6'10 Alperen Sengun from Turkey. The 16th pick did belong to the Oklahoma City Thunder until Rafael Stone executed an interesting deal with Sam Presti.

"We did not think he would fall to us at 23, so we were really aggressive to try and move up all throughout the first round to acquire him," as Stone said.

Sengun's abilities on the court revolve around his post ups and skillful passing. He even maintains good feet along the baseline. In his press conference, he mentioned his passing skills can become better. There are clips of him looking impressive on shovel passes, passing the ball behind his back, and finding the cutting man towards the basket. Sengun looked good in double teams by showing he can still find the open man with his back turned.

While playing in the Turkish Super League, Sengun was an MVP at 18-years-old, averaged 19.2 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.5 assist, 1.7 blocks, and 1.3 steals per game. He could be another huge figure next to Christian Wood on the court, and a safety blanket for the Rockets if they cannot bring back Kelly Olynyk.

Usman Garbua is similar to former Rocket Luc Mbah a Moute. He is 6'8 with a tremendous wingspan at 7'3 and can guard anyone on the court, which is 1-5. Garbua was seen guarding Kevin Durant in the Team USA vs. Spain matchup and had interesting battles. The Rockets will get a ton of energy out of the 19-year-old player. He knows how to run the floor in transition, so he can finish around the rim. As I see it, he could be on a defensive first team in the future as he matures more. Garbua will become a defensive nightmare against opposing players.

"I think he's the best defender in the world outside of the NBA, and he's just 19 years old," Stone said. "I think he potentially could be really, really impactful on that side of the ball."

As the Rockets made their last selection, they selected Green's AAU buddy, Josh Christopher from Arizona State. He impressed a ton of scouts during his draft workouts and scrimmage against other prospects. Christopher had a double-double during his third scrimmage, which was 16 points and 10 rebounds. He is a very shifty guard with a ferocious step back.

While playing with the Sun Devils, he averaged 14.3 points per game and shot 49 percent from the field. Just like Green, he loved the midrange opportunities, as he shot 49.6 percent underneath the perimeter. He is another shifty big body the Rockets will have in their back court at 6'5. Christopher is very good at rebounding and playing defense. Stone loves watching him in defensive one-on-one situations. Christopher has Sixth Man of the Year written all over him because of his stocky body type and upside.

Hopefully, the Rockets have an exciting summer league and training camp along with their season.

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