It’s Almost NBA Playoff Time!

Adam Silver is the man with the plan. Last year he delivered as promised. Let’s see how well the play-in playoff game will be received by players and fans. Photo Courtesy: Jason Pratt / Mayo Clinic

By DaVince “Dino” Wright

It’s Wednesday, May 12, 2021, and I’m watching the NBA on ESPN. The Wizards just dropped a winnable game to the Atlanta Hawks and Russell Westbrook put up some nice numbers in the loss. The second game of the double header is Utah versus Portland. I’m sitting with my laptop writing this article with my back facing the TV listening to all the action. Teams from both conferences are gearing up for the playoffs, but this season will be the first time that the NBA will use a different type of method for playoff seeding.

Over the past two seasons the National Basketball League led by Commissioner Adam Silver has changed with the times. Last year the NBA played its playoffs in the NBA Bubble in Orlando, Florida and the LA Lakers walked away with the NBA championship. This year, the NBA has a “Play-In” scenario for this year. In this article, I’m going to explain the play-in rule and teams that are affected by it.

Play-In Scenario
The play-in tournament was implemented last season when the NBA restarted the season last summer with teams invited by their schedule and healthy players. Keep in mind that this is experimental and without a vote of the governing board this will probably be the last time the league will use this. Before the play-in the top 8 teams from both conferences. So, the top 6 teams will have an automatic bid into the playoffs, while teams in the 7th and 8th spot will play in a tournament against the 9th and 10th seeds for the final two spots. This changes everything. For the past two seasons each team has a 72 game season and the best records from the top 8 will play.

What Players are Saying
Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks shared, “I don’t understand the play-in tournament, you play 72 to get into the playoffs, then maybe you lose two games and you’re out of the playoffs. I don’t see the point in that.” LA Laker captain LeBron James said, “Whoever came up with that sh** needs to be fired!” Last year LeBron praised the scenario inside the bubble, but doesn’t see the point this year.

The Play-In Playoff
The play-in tournament will take place at the conclusion of the regular season, and will run from May 18-21. The playoffs will start on May 22.
– The seventh- place team will host the eighth-place team in a one game match up. The winner will earn the 7th seed in the playoffs.
– The ninth-place team will host the 10th-place team in a one game match up and the loser of that game will be eliminated.
– The loser of the seventh place vs. eighth place game will host the winner of the ninth place vs tenth place game and will earn the eighth place seed in the playoffs, and loser will be eliminated.