When news first came out that the NBA was considering bringing back the play-in tournament for the 2020-21 season, I was over the moon. That shit was so much fun during the bubble. Having a playoff feel before the playoffs actually began was awesome. Remember the run Dame went on?
The setup was perfect. You take the 8 seed and then any batch of teams that were within a certain game amount from that final playoff spot and you battle it out. The West is so stacked next year that seeds 8-10 are going to be a bloodbath. Think of how close the standings were this year and then add a healthy Warriors team to the mix. It didn't really seem like there needed to be an adjustment to this format if the league wanted to make this a permanent thing. Well, apparently the NBA is doing the exact opposite according to Woj
The play-in tournament proposal has coalesced around the structure ESPN first reported was gaining traction in early 2018: a four-team tournament among the Nos. 7, 8, 9 and 10 seeds for the final two playoff spots in each conference.
The tournament would begin with No. 7 hosting No. 8, and the winner locking into the No. 7 spot. Meanwhile, No. 9 would face No. 10, with the winner advancing to play the loser of the 7-versus-8 matchup for the No. 8 seed, sources have told ESPN.
That setup gives the teams who finish the regular season seventh and eighth two chances to secure a postseason berth. The Nos. 9 and 10 teams would have to win twice -- without losing -- in order to snare one of those two spots.
Adam, my guy, what are you doing? Now we're including the 7th seed in this whole thing? Why? Just look at the situation from last season. The Mavs, at 43-32 were 7.5 games ahead of the 8th seed. 7.5 games!! Now in this new format, they could potentially get screwed out of that seed if they somehow lose to the 8th? How is that fair. An entire season's worth of work to maybe avoid the Lakers and you rob them of it? That feels stupid. If you finish 7th in the standings, you should not have your playoff spot in jeopardy. Especially when a team that does could be 11 games over .500. In fact, they should only do the play in if teams are within earshot of a playoff spot. If the 10th seed is like 9 games back of the 8th seed, sorry tough luck, welcome to the Lottery. This season it was teams within 4 games, and it was weird because of the shortened season. I say make it 3-4 games and if the 10th and 11th seeds are tied in terms of record, give the slot to whoever won the season series between the two. If that was split, give it to the team with the better conference record or some shit.
In my opinion, the only way a 7th seed should be included in this thing is if they are tied record-wise with the 8th seed. Otherwise, why stop there? If the 7th seed is 7.5 games above the 8th and the 6th seed is like 8.5 games ahead of the 8th, why should the 6th seed be safe?
There's no need to overthink this. We just saw this play in tournament idea work perfectly (unless you're a Grizzlies fan, I'm sorry). I hope this is just the early stage of the negotiation and everyone will come to their senses, because it does provide a good twist to the end of the season, but you don't need to go overboard and include teams that were so far ahead of the 8th seed. Don't ruin a good idea by being greedy and that's what this would be. A money grab by including more teams.
Thank you for coming to my TED talk.