Mind of Michael: NBA play-in games - The Lookout - LCC's Independent Student Newspaper Since 1959
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Mind of Michael: NBA play-in games

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The Lookout Sports Editor Michael Leek

Michael Leek

By Michael Leek
Sports Editor

The NBA playoffs are approaching, but first, eight teams will be battling for the seven and eight seeds in the play-in tournament.

I do not like the play-in tournament, and at first, I felt like it was just a money grab.

The play-in tournament is taking the seven through 10 seeds in both conferences and making them play each other to earn the seven and eight-seed spots.

There were multiple reasons proposed to explain or justify why the play-in tournament was implemented. It gives teams more of an incentive to not tank purposefully with a last-ditch effort to make the playoffs, as well as trying to get All-Star players to play in more games and stop sitting out.

Both of those reasons would be good and could help the competitiveness of the NBA overall, but that is not what has happened with the play-in.

Teams are still tanking and All-Star players are still sitting out multiple games throughout the year.

The reason I do not like the play-in tournament is because it feels as though the importance of the 82 games in the regular season get diminished by the tournament. This is not for all teams, but for those seven and eight seeds who are forced to participate in it.

For example, the New Orleans Pelicans earned the seventh seed this year by playing and winning games in the regular season. Now, they have to play the eight-seed Lakers, who also won and played their way into the playoffs.

Whoever loses this game has to play the winner of the nine and 10 seeds to earn their spot back into the playoffs.

Yes, it could give an incentive for lower-performing teams to not purposefully tank because they have a shot for the playoffs, but my thinking is, why win the play-in games just to face the best team in either conference?

Because of that reason I could still see low-performing teams tanking on purpose.

There is another element that I have neglected to address so far and that is the NBA, or at least the Western Conference, is getting more competitive.

Throughout the whole regular season in the Western Conference, one or two games could switch the five seed to the eighth seed and vice versa.

The play-in could be good for situations like this, but the Eastern Conference is not as competitive and again it diminishes the purpose of the regular season to a point.

I do think the NBA playoffs needs a tweak to their post-season format, but the play-in tournament is not what it needs.



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