This year, the NBA is integrating a new playoff format where the 9-seed and 10-seed in both the Eastern and Western Conference have a chance to earn their spots in the playoffs through a play-in tournament!
Last season, the NBA experimented with this idea of having the 8-seed and 9-seed in both conferences face off if the 9-seed was within a certain amount of games of the 8-seed given that they were playing a shortened season. Only the Western Conference had a chance to display the play-in game with the Blazers facing the Grizzlies and it was quite a show for NBA fans!
Due to the success in viewership and popularity, the NBA has decided to implement a temporary play-in tournament this season where the 7-seed and 8-seed from both conference will face off with one another, the winner being crowned the 7-seed in that conference, and the 9-seed and 10-seed will face off, with the loser being eliminated and the winner going on to play the losers of the 7-seed/8-seed game for the rights to the 8-seed in the conference.
It is a little confusing, but if you see how it works, you will understand it perfectly! While this seems like a great thing in terms of viewership and fan engagement, some personnel around the league have not been happy with this idea, especially given the strain a shortened season has already put on the players and organizations.
One big name who is not a fan of this play-in tournament is LeBron James. The Lakers are now 36-28 in the Western Conference and are on the verge of having to play in the play-in tournament, but James does not seem to be a fan of this idea from the league.
When speaking to the media, James made his feelings very known and went as far to say, “Whoever came up with that s*** needs to be fired,” in regards to the play-in tournament. While James may feel this way about this year’s playoff format, here is why he is wrong about the play-in tournament and why it will work out just how the NBA has hoped it will.