Prominent NBA players question the safety of tournament courts

The NBA’s new seasonal tournament courts have caused quite a stir thanks to their bold painted designs, but at least three All-Stars have criticized the new surfaces as slippery and a potential safety hazard.

Jaylen Brown became the latest standout player to join the chorus after the Boston Celtics’ 108-105 victory over the Toronto Raptors at Scotiabank Arena on Friday, during which Toronto’s gray and gold seasonal tournament court was unveiled.

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The Celtics held a three-point lead in the final 15 seconds of the game, Brown slipped while defending a rebound and Raptors forward Scottie Barnes hit a corner kick for a potential tying three points. Barnes’ shot bounced off the rim and Boston took possession, but Brown slipped again while trying to break free on a behind-the-back play with eight seconds left. Brown immediately grabbed his groin in pain and fell to the court, prompting Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla to rush onto the court to check on his two-time All-Star forward.

“I slipped. I may have strained my groin a bit. – Brown said. “We’ll see how it feels. The pitch was simply slippery throughout the match. As players, we are all here for a season-long tournament because it will generate revenue, excitement, competition, etc. We need to make sure the floor is safe to play on. We cannot put our players on the pitch and risk their health. Tonight I thought the floor was unacceptable. Guys were slipping everywhere, not just me.

Actually, said Raptors forward Precious Achiuwa that during the game he “felt like I slipped a few times,” adding that he “just wants to.”[ed] play basketball, but at the same time I’m not trying to get injured.

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NBC Sports Boston commentator Brian Scalabrine also expressed concern about the game’s broadcast.

“I like the look of this court, but about 10 times the guys slipped.” – said Scalabryna. “If they’re going to do these floors, you’ve got to make sure you take care of the guys.”

Brown and Achiuwa joined the chorus of players who expressed concerns about the in-season tournament courts, which were unveiled last month to much fanfare.

The NBA has tasked tournament courts with helping fans and television viewers quickly distinguish an in-season tournament from a typical regular-season game and help convey the increased stakes of the event. The new designs forgo traditional hardwood for a painted look that prominently features the new NBA Cup trophy design on center court and in the paint on both ends of the floor.

After the Dallas Mavericks suffered a 131-110 road loss to the New Orleans Pelicans in Tuesday’s tournament game, Luka Doncic said the purple-and-green court at the Smoothie King Center was “really bad.”

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“It was really slippery and in some places the ball didn’t bounce,” he added. – Doncic said. “If we are going to have these courts, we need to make sure it is a stable court. It was a bit slippery, especially the painted area.”

Indiana Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton said the blue and yellow Gainbridge Fieldhouse court was “definitely smooth early” during a 121-116 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Nov. 3 that was the season opener for both teams.

“I think everyone was a little concerned at the beginning of the game,” Haliburton said. according to the Indianapolis Star.. “I felt like I was slipping. I would take a step forward and then turn and there was no turning back.”

Leaving nothing to chance, LeBron James subjected the Los Angeles Lakers’ yellow and purple court to extensive pre-game testing on Tuesday at the Arena. The four-time MVP clearly enjoyed his sneaker-squeaking outing and took the lead in a 107-95 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.

Although the most common complaint was slippery surfaces, the launch of 30 new courts led to other problems. The Mavericks’ gray tournament court was not available for the team’s first home tournament game of the season due to a “production issue,” and the Denver Nuggets’ blue-and-yellow court had to be repaired because the three-point line was not visible. initially painted at the wrong distance.

The distinctive tournament courts, which match each team’s “City Edition” jersey colors, were first used on November 3 and are scheduled to be used until the conclusion of the event at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, where the semifinals will be held on December 7 and the championship game on December 9 .

To maintain consistency across the league, each tournament field is oriented horizontally for television viewers. The 94-foot-long by 50-foot-wide area is divided roughly into three sections, with one dominant color at the top and bottom, separated by a 16-foot-long central stripe of a secondary color. The dominant color also appears around the edges of the playing surface on all four sides to enhance the bold aesthetic.

The NBA had hoped that the midseason tournament would improve competition early in the season, in the same way that the play-in tournament that was introduced in 2020 helped improve the final two months of the regular season. The league was announced this week that the first tournament games of the season were watched by an average of 1.7 million viewers on ESPN, a 55% increase over the previous season’s “comparable periods.”


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