The league and the Players Association agreed to the proposal as well.
The tournament will follow the same format as it did last season.
Teams seeded seventh to tenth, according to winning percentages, will compete to complete the playoff brackets.
The seventh and eighth ranked teams will initially square off for the right to earn the seven-seed.
The ninth and tenth ranked teams will play for a shot at the eight-seed, with the winner facing the loser of the contest for the seven-seed.
The tournament will take place between the final day of the regular season and the start of the playoffs.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 16, 2021
Play-In Tournament Adds Excitement
Without the Play-In Tournament last season, NBA fans would have been robbed of Ja Morant‘s postseason run.
Morant led the Memphis Grizzlies to oust Golden State from the playoffs.
The Play-In did exactly what the league had hoped: pitted a rising star against an established veteran.
Morant and Steph Curry traded blows in the overtime thriller, with the young star ultimately securing the victory with his brilliant 35-point performance.
Not that Curry wilted in the moment.
The NBA’s scoring champ poured in 39 points, trying to stave off elimination.
The league hoped the Play-In Tournament would inject a level of excitement into the regular season, and it did just that.
More teams than ever found themselves on the cusp of a postseason berth in the closing days of the season.
This, in turn, meant more meaningful basketball was being played in those waning days.
Too often, teams that had fallen out of playoff contention largely shuttered their competitive hopes.
Some teams even turned toward tanking, in an effort to secure better odds in the coming draft lottery.
But the Play-In Tournament kept more teams, and thus more fans, engaged for a longer period of time.
“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,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver of the Play-In Tournament.
Play-In Tournament Values The Regular Season
Woj reports that the NBA and the players' association have agreed to have a postseason play-in tournament again next year.- but should there be some tweaks? pic.twitter.com/GOJsVqamic
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) July 17, 2021
One of the biggest drawbacks to those last few weeks of previous NBA season remained uninspired play for a number of teams.
Those squads that had slipped from playoff contention often shifted their focus to offseason concerns and development of fringe talent.
Fans suffered through terrible basketball.
But with last year’s Play-In Tournament, the NBA saw that each playoff matchup remained uncertain in the season’s final day.
Each of the 30 teams had something to play for in those final days before the playoff seeding was set.
Teams, like the Washington Wizards who suffered through multiple injuries in the regular season, found they had a path to the playoffs when in years past they would have long been eliminated.
That path generated interesting and compelling basketball for fans to consume.
Teams clawed for one of the spots in the Play-In despite losing records and subpar seasons.
Even teams with winning records sought to improve potential playoff matchups late into the regular season, hoping to avoid the fate that befell the Warriors.
With the Play-In Tournament back for 2021-22, the league looks to provide an exciting, compelling product for its fan all the way through the regular season and beyond.