The NBA play-in tournament was brought back to nearly unanimous approval among fans, and actual unanimous approval among the league’s board of governors when they voted on it this past offseason.
Of course, as the season has gone on and unexpected teams have been put at risk of having to play their way into the playoffs from the seventh through 10th seeds (for more on how the play-in works, read this). Representatives from those teams have expressed shock and dismay that something they thought would be fun for other teams might have dire consequences for their own situations.
The NBA play-in tournament had chaos potential from the moment it was conceived. Let’s take a look at 3 ways we can achieve maximum chaos via the play-in.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban expressed dismay recently over the condensed NBA season leading to a play-in. It’s curious that he now regrets his own vote in favor of the play-in, and almost certainly has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that his team is now at risk of having to participate in the play-in.
Similarly, following a 121-114 home loss by the Los Angeles Lakers against the Toronto Raptors, a roving band of nomads, LeBron James expressed shock and horror at the play-in tournament’s very existence.
“Whoever came up with that s*** needs to be fired”, said James, advocating for arbitrarily dismissing American workers from their employment during a pandemic. One could assume he was merely expressing solidarity for Cuban’s plight with the Mavs, but nope. The Lakers’ loss dropped them into a three-way tie for fifth with a 36-28 record, meaning one of the Mavs, Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers could ultimately be the odd man out.
So while Mark Cuban and LeBron James express fear and angst of having to play their way into the playoffs, other teams are out there grinding for those same play-in spots like their lives depend on it. It’s a situation that breeds chaos, and chaos is what makes the NBA better than any other sport.
Let’s take a look at three scenarios that could deliver maximum chaos via the NBA play-in tournament.