The Stern Cup – NBA’s comeback plan from Coronavirus

by Matt Fischer

I’m having basketball withdrawal.  We were headed to the climax of the basketball season with March Madness just over a week away and had the rug pulled out from under us.  Basketball needs to get back when it can safely resume play to finish out the season.

We know the NCAA won’t do it but the NBA can as they are always a leader in sports globally with their evolution.  So I’d like to help them out with an idea to finish out the season and perhaps lead to the start of their in-season tournament.

The Stern Cup

I’d like to introduce you to the Stern Cup (named after the late NBA commissioner David Stern). 

The Stern Cup will feature all 30 NBA teams in action in what I’d describe as the NBA’s version of the World Cup.

Teams will be placed into eight pods based upon final win percentage prior to the shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.  The top eight teams with the highest win percentage on the season will be the top seed in each pod with the rest of the league snaking through.  The two teams with the best win percentage in the NBA will not have a #2 seed in their region to make the 30 teams fit into eight.

The Stern Cup Pods

Here is how each pod sets up:

Bucks Pod (only three teams as the Bucks have the league’s best win percentage)

  • Milwaukee Bucks
  • Brooklyn Nets
  • Golden State Warriors

This could be the pod of death if Kyrie is back for Brooklyn and the Splash Brothers are back for Golden State.

Lakers Pod (only three teams as the Lakers have the league’s second best win percentage)

  • Los Angeles Lakers
  • Orlando Magic
  • Cleveland Cavs

Raptors Pod

  • Toronto Raptors
  • Memphis Grizzlies
  • Portland Trail Blazers
  • Minnesota Timberwolves

Clippers Pod

  • Los Angeles Clippers
  • Dallas Mavericks
  • New Orleans Pelicans
  • Atlanta Hawks

Celtics Pod

  • Boston Celtics
  • Indiana Pacers
  • Sacramento Kings
  • Detroit Pistons

Nuggets Pod

  • Denver Nuggets
  • Philadelphia 76ers
  • San Antonio Spurs
  • New York Knicks

Jazz Pod

  • Utah Jazz
  • Oklahoma City Thunder
  • Phoenix Suns
  • Chicago Bulls

Heat Pod

  • Miami Heat
  • Houston Rockets
  • Washington Wizards
  • Charlotte Hornets

All teams play every team in their pod and the team with the most wins advances.  In case of a tie, the winner of the head to head match-up advances.  If there’s a three way tie, total margin of victory in pod play will determine the team to advance.

Tournament Play

Once we have eight pod champions, they will advance to bracket play.  In the quarterfinals, it’ll be single elimination.  Survive and advance to the NBA Final Four. 

Once in the Final Four, it’ll be best of 3 series in both the semi-finals and championship.

The winner becomes the Stern Cup Champion. 

Make it happen NBA.  We, the fans, are dying for basketball to come back and see who wins the title in the most wide open season in recent NBA history.