NBA introduced the concept of the play-in tournament this season and following its success, it is set to be integrated into the next season as well. The quality of the games due to the prize at stake and the boost it provides to the revenue are all factors in retaining the tournament.
The concept of the tournament was criticized by players like LeBron James, who openly spoke against it. The event gives a chance for the teams to qualify for the playoffs, who have finished 9th and 10th in their respective conference tables.
It also poses an additional hurdle for the sides finishing 7th and 8th, who would have directly progressed into the playoffs in the absence of the play-in.
The league and the Player’s Association have reportedly agreed to retain the format for the next season and it is subject to approval from the NBA Board of Governors.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver expects the play-in tournament to be a part of the season
Adam Silver noted that despite the criticism by players towards the format, it was a huge success for the league.
It’s my expectation that we’ll continue [the tournament] for next season,” Silver said.
“I think, ultimately, although there were critics, not just LeBron [James] but others who weren’t in favor of it, and maybe some teams who weren’t thrilled with it, I think overall it was very positive for the league and the players.
Inaugural edition of the play-in tournament saw a few surprises
This season’s series of matches in the play-in tournament was illuminated by a classic bout between the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors. A clutch three-pointer by LeBron James helped the Lakers to qualify for the playoffs.
The Warriors were then stunned by the Memphis Grizzlies on the bank of Ja Morant’s heroics. The defeat meant that the Warriors were devoid of playoffs basketball for the second season in a row.
In the Eastern Conference, Boston Celtics grabbed the seventh seed while Washington Wizards sealed their fairytale comeback by grabbing the eighth spot, when at one stage they were on the brink of elimination.
Given the amount of interest and revenue it generates, it won’t be long before the format becomes permanent.