As the NBA is currently hibernating in its offseason, Adam Silver and the fans are still skeptical if they should keep or get rid of the NBA play in the tournament. This tournament came to the NBA in the 2020 season. The reason behind the play-in tournament was if the ninth seed or tenth seed was within four games from the eighth seed they would give the ninth and tenth seeds a chance to make the playoffs and get a shot at holding the Larry O’ Brian trophy. Many NBA fans love it, but many don’t. A lot of NBA players have spoken on the Idea to get rid of it, but no other player hates it as much as Lebron James. Lebron was active and playing in this year’s 2021 play-in tournament. Although the Lakers beat the Warriors, 103-100 Lebron James had to say this about the play-in tournament:
Although many people dislike it strongly, some like the idea of the best team playing in the playoffs. This is for example, COVID tracing. A team that really got affected by this was the Raptors. They had to move from their hometown in Toronto to Tampa bay as a home game, and lost many players from having COVID or being around someone with COVID. So the NBA wanted to give teams such as the Raptors and the Heat Wizards a chance in the playoffs.
Another reason the NBA implemented the play-in tournament is because it is difficult for injuries and rest. An average off-season consists of 25, 26 or about 27 weeks, but last season the NBA broke history for having the shortest off-season of 72 days. That is why so many superstar players got injured and had to sit out. Players that had to sit out included: Kawhi Leonard, Jamal Murray, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Bradly Beal, James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and Joel Embiid. Embiid was having a MVP year averaging Shaq type numbers consisting of 28.5 PPG, 10.6 RPG, and 2.8 APG. Embiid would have been the first center to win an MVP since Shaq in 2000, but instead Nikola Jokic ended that drought, as Jokic won the MVP while putting up video game numbers. The 26 year-old center from Serbia, averaged 26.4 PPG, 10.8 RPG, and 8.3 APG. Also leading the Nuggets to the third seed. So the play in the tournament would make sense for teams who would lose a lot of players from injuries to still make the playoffs.
“I like the concept of the play-in tournament a lot, I think it brings more competition to the playoffs,” said NBA fan, Tom Diaz. “It would profit off of it because it would bring more interest in the playoffs and viewership, the disadvantage would be having a popular team be out of the playoffs or kicked out because of a loss.”
This quote is correct as the teams in last season’s play-in tournament were: the Lakers, the Warriors, the Grizzlies, and the Spurs. The teams that made it were the Lakers and Grizzlies. But the Warriors were to be more popular and were thought to bring in more viewers. This is because of two time MVP and three time NBA champion, Stephen Curry. Curry was a MVP candidate and led the NBA in points per game last regular season. Unfortunately Curry fell short losing their last two games at a chance to make the playoffs.