The NBA has implemented a play-in tournament for the final two seeds in each conference.
On a surface level, it is an exciting series of games that brings in viewers and makes the early period of the postseason more exciting.
However, on a deeper level a play-in tournament is not a good idea.
Even the face of the league, LeBron James, has sounded off about his disapproval.
In an interview in 2018, he was quoted as saying, “That’s wack… you’ve got to earn you spot to be in the postseason. No consolation for finishing last. That’s corny”.
He voiced his opinions again this season when it became clear his team was headed for the event.
There are various reasons as to why the NBA should discontinue the tournament, however, it likely will not happen.
1. Devalues the Regular Season
The first reason as to why the play-in tournament is a bad idea is that it devalues the regular season.
With the tournament in place, it means that 10 teams in both conferences have a chance to make the playoffs if they win two consecutive games at most.
This is very unfair to the No. 7 and No. 8 seeds that have clawed their way through the final stretch of the regular season to secure the spots.
Along with this, because two-thirds of the league make postseason play, it allows teams to coast through the regular season.
This makes for a very subpar and watered down product during the regular season.
The league already has an issue with load management and low viewership during the regular season.
Making the regular season even more meaningless than it already is will make these problems even bigger.
It may even force the NBA to cut the regular season to less than 82 games permanently.
While having a play-in tournament allows for more fans to be engaged in the postseason, it comes with the sacrifice of the regular season.
Lastly, it leads to more late-season tanking.
Down the stretch of the regular season, mid-tier teams in the standings began seemingly intentionally losing games.
This would make no sense on the surface, however, with the Los Angeles Lakers being a play-in team, teams were losing games on purpose to avoid playing the Lakers in the first round.
NBA: the play in tournament will eliminate teams tanking
Denver Nuggets, Clippers and Mavs tonight: pic.twitter.com/cZDXz607RE
— Alexander II 🇳🇬x🇨🇲 (@Alex2Akande) May 17, 2021
2. More Injuries
The second reason that the NBA play-in tournament is a bad idea is that it will lead to more unnecessary injuries.
This is especially a reason to not have the tournament this season.
With this being the quickest turnaround from one season to another for some teams, injuries have riddled many teams.
Forcing them to play in even more unnecessary games is an awful idea.
It is nothing more than a clear cash grab by the league to try to recoup some of the money that they lost due to COVID-19.
It is coming at the expense of the health and well being of their players.
Markelle Fultz: ACL
LaMelo: Broken Wrist
TJ Warren: Foot
Wiseman; Torn Meniscus
Murray: Just Tore his ACL
Adam Silver: pic.twitter.com/ctejX5lsOg
— ASI💫PainSzn°💫 (@Ayton_SZN) April 13, 2021
The NBA play-in tournament, while intriguing on paper, is atrocious in practice.
While it allows more teams to participate in the postseason, it makes the regular season even more meaningless than it already is.
Also, while it is good for ratings and league revenue, it is extra wear and tear on the players that may lead to even more injuries in a season that is plagued by them.NEXT: 3 NBA Teams That Should Have Made The 2021 Playoffs