The Lakers have dominated the NBA In-Season tournament, sweeping their group and earning the top spot in West Group A. What's interesting about the Lakers is the juxtaposition of their performances in regular-season games compared to In-Season Tournament play. They've gone 4-0 in the competition but are 5-7 in non-tournament play.
After the Lakers' last group stage game against the Utah Jazz, which they dominated 131-99, Christian Wood talked about one of the main motivators for the Lakers to perform well in this new competition. Money.
"For the younger guys, it's amazing," Wood said postgame. "They get that money and take care of their family. It's big. For me, I've been in the league for a long time so I'm trying to save it as much as I can. Who wouldn't try to save that much money. But it's big time for the young guys and we're going to try to do it for them."
Group A:— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) November 25, 2023
- LAL win (4-0, +74)
- PHX (3-1, +34) lead Wild Card point differential
- NOP (3-1, +30) need HOU to lose at DAL to advance (HOU has H2H tiebreaker). Can’t be Wild Card as PHX has > +/-
- HOU (2-1, +16) win group with win at DAL https://t.co/Maj14QLHHa
This isn't the first time the Lakers have referenced the financial incentive of winning this tournament, you'd think half a million dollars wouldn't incentivize players who earn tens of millions, but clearly, they are.
Especially for players like Max Christie and Maxwell Lewis, who are on rookie payscales, that money is nearly 25% of their salary, so this financial incentive is nothing to sneeze at.
Considering the city edition jerseys, new courts and a grand finale in Las Vegas, the NBA has done a good job of creating hype and interest in this regular season competition. Yes, some of these changes have been hit or miss, but having these changes signifies the difference between these games and regular season action gets us talking. No press is bad press, right?
The Lakers will continue their pursuit of the NBA Cup in the quarterfinals, however, who they will play is still unknown. We know they'll host a home game during the quarterfinals and given they are 7-2 at home, that advantage should put them in prime position to advance.
Can the Lakers win the inaugural NBA In-Season Tournament and earn this holiday pay for the baby Lakers? We’ll have to wait for the first week of December for games to commence.
You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.