Play-In Tournament Could Decide Bottom Seeds In Each Conference

A play-in tournament to decide the final two playoff spots in each conference seems likely, Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe of ESPN report.

The tournament being discussed would include teams with the 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th best records. A 7 vs. 8 matchup would decide the No. 7 seed in the conference playoffs. The winner of the 9-10 game would then face the loser of the 7-8 game to decide the No. 8 seed.

The tournament would create another revenue stream for the league, which is trying to find ways to make up for last season’s losses due to the coronavirus pandemic as well as the likelihood of having few or no fans in the stands for at least a portion of next season. Having more teams participate in the proposed format could also decrease some teams’ desire to tank.

There are concerns of unfairly penalizing a team in the No. 7 slot that has a strong record. However, no standings trigger has been discussed to date.

Commissioner Adam Silver said negotiations between the league and Players Association had reached a critical stage with an increasingly short window to reach an agreement to allow for a December 22 start.

In other developments regarding negotiations, per the ESPN duo:

  • The league wants to expand guidelines on sports betting, hard alcohol and casinos in order to generate $80-100MM in revenue.
  • Significant increases in the escrow withholding on players’ salaries has been discussed. That includes the possibility of spreading out the players’ losses over multiple seasons, most likely three, so that they don’t take such a substantial financial hit in one year. If that’s the case, the salary cap and luxury tax levels would need to be set over the next three years.
  • The league recently told teams that 40% of Basketball Related Income (BRI), which is split between the two parties, could be lost without gate receipts this season.
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33 thoughts on “Play-In Tournament Could Decide Bottom Seeds In Each Conference

  1. Tatsumaki

    Imagine thinking that adding a play into the boost falling viewership. Just stop forcing a message and play basketball and viewership will go back.

  2. 13Morgs13

    The nba is trending downwards. Silver needs to come up with fresher/new ideas.

    • El Don

      It isn’t! What planet are you comin’ down from? Planet Trump? The NBA, virus apart, is at the top of its game! TV viewership ain’t a guide, only good ole folks watches games in the box!

    • Strike Four

      That’s what happens when no player is allowed to take attention away from Lebron for any amount of time.

  3. Jason Lancaster

    Love it. Lifelong fan, can’t wait to see 9th and 10th seed have a shot at the playoffs.

    I mean, what difference does it really make most years? 7 and 8 seed are just cannon fodder anyways…

  4. hiflew

    This is so dumb. A 10 seed can finish 8 or even more games behind a 7 seed over the course of an 82 game season and make the playoffs ahead of them based on the outcome of 1 game. What is the point of the regular season again?

    • harden-westbrook-mvps

      It’s two games in that case, not just one. The 7 and 8 seeds would play for the #7 seed, then the loser (in this case the 7 seed) plays the winner of the 9/10 matchup (in this case the 10 seed). If the team with the 7th best record in their conference can’t beat either the 8th best or 10th best team, then you honestly think they still belong in the playoffs?

      • hiflew

        By that logic, the NBA champions should end the season undefeated. So yes, I do believe they belong in the playoffs. Any team can lose a single game or even two games in a row. Very few teams have ever gone an entire season without losing two games in a row. The difference between the best and the worst team in the NBA seems like a lot, but it’s really not. The worst team in the NBA is still the 30th best team in the entire world.

        So let’s the Rockets end the season with 45 wins, but lose 2 games to the worst team in the league throughout the season, should they be excluded from the playoffs?

        • harden-westbrook-mvps

          What you mean is if either the Warriors, Jazz, or Blazers end the season with 45 wins. Those are the teams that will be battling for the 6th seed since the top 5 seeds will be the two LA’s, Houston, Dallas, and Denver.

    • harden-westbrook-mvps

      In simpler terms, the 7th and 8th seeded teams in each conference only have to win once while given two chances to advance to the playoffs. But the 9th and 10th seeded teams would have to win two games to advance, which is of course a far more difficult task.

      • hiflew

        In simpler terms? Really? The 7 and 8 seeds just spent 6 months proving they were better than the 9 and 10 teams over the long haul. Now one of them would be guaranteed to have to play one of the teams they were proven better than in a single game elimination. I’ll say it again, this is stupid.

  5. specialfriedrice

    No Adam just no…how can you have time to ‘squeeze’ this into another shortened season…and anyway just no thank you.

  6. x%sure

    By creating some excitement, maybe Silver means he will even bother watching himself.

    Reminds me of Quiditch of the wizarding world, supposedly a team sport, where 10 players battle for goals, but the higher-billed stars who are allowed to grab the gold ball score 150. Why bother with the regulars a? And why are the good guys written as good guys if they manipulate the moneyball? And… the Hogwarts metaphor strrrretches.

  7. mike.honcho

    This doesn’t sound fair for the 7th & 8th placers, especially in the cut-throat WEST. Hopefully they’ll use some good old statistical analysis on how to make this better, if it’s feasible at all.

    If the NBA truly believes that quality games equates to increased viewership ……. then contract the league, instead of adding more franchises.

    There’s so much meaningless games every season.

    Get rid of the worst-market NBA teams, 2 each conference, say the HAWKS, HORNETS, KINGS, TWOLVES …… or use some other criteria.

    The displaced players to be put in a dispersal draft for the remaining teams.

    It eliminates some meaningless games, improves league parity somewhat.

      • mike.honcho

        Yes, get rid of low-viewership market teams.

        Since this thread is about the NBA throwing around some ideas …….. revenue, quality of games, etc.

        Can’t deny that the NBA has somehow lost its footing the past few years.

        • Curtisrowe

          Well, the players association probably wouldn’t dig having another 70 players out of work.

          The owners probably wouldn’t dig the NBA just taking away their business, that they paid for.
          And even the Hawks are worth like 1.5 billion.

          TV packages would go down. Once covid is gone cities would lose TONS of money from fans coming in to see the games, staying in hotels, eating out etc.

          Everyone loses money in this scenario.

        • x%sure

          You would not see the difference. Meanwhile the revenue from those teams would be lost. Not a good way to increase revenue!

          If they’re playing hard I’ll watch.

          Cutting down on dead-ball time would help. Foulers get benched like Dr.Naismith said, cutting down the lazy swipes; and only one FT per dead ball.

  8. The Howler

    82 game sample is, according to the NBA, not enough to determine who is good enough for the playoffs. Instead of focussing on seed they should focus on record. A 9th, 10th seed or beyond should have to be within x games of the 8th seed to trigger a play in scenario. 9th seed that is one game back of the 8 seed triggers the game while an 8 seed that is 7 games for does not. Some years you might not get any play in games other years you might get a bunch. Look at the West this year, 5 teams within 3 games if #8…that would a wild play in series of games.

  9. Strike Four

    They should be cutting the 7th and 8th seeds out entirely and run with 6 teams each league, because the 7th and 8th seeds are never serious contenders anyway.

    They should also do the draft in this order:
    18-30, 17-1. So the 18th team picks #1, the 30th team picks #12, the 17th team picks #13 and the #1 team picks #30.

    Here’s why: The 18th team needs the #1 pick to ascend more quickly into contention more than the worst team does, who are always years away. It would totally eliminate tanking too, making for a higher quality league.

  10. HailRodgers12$

    Cuz everyone wants to watch sub-.500 teams battling for the right to get destroyed by super team #1 seeds!

    What happened to lumping all teams together and going strictly by record instead of the current 2 conference setup? That was bad, but this is worse.

  11. Dunkinstompin

    NBA is declining anyway! The game is not what it used to be. Big men being forced out the game, everybody is jacking up 3s. The Conference’s system is outdated and needs a revamp. Let’s start by bringing back defense and decreasing fouls. It’s not fun to watch some players scoring 20 to 25 points on free throws, we need more physicality and less flopping!

    • The Howler

      Bigs more important without a 3 pt. line as the offer the highest chance of scoring…tall + close to the basket = high fg%. Analytics showed that 3 pt. shot is another route to efficient scoring. I think bigs are important because inside scoring is still efficient…you can include good drivers as well. In addition, I think that defense innovation lags behind offense so we are still seeing adjustments. Unless a player can shoot greater than 50% from 15 ft to the 3 pt. line it is an subpar shot.

  12. KnickerbockerAl

    They don’t need to change. You sound like a bunch of housewifes. It’s a Pandemic if we had real leadership. We would be ahead of this thing. Not getting political here. Just speaking truth. Life is not always going to be like this. NBA is trying recoup money. They are a business you know.
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    To me they should just start Dec 22. Keep it a 60 gm season and go from there. We don’t need play in gms. Takes away from season. Players need to get on board and stop the whining. Things could be much better by end of January. Or at least by end of season. We have no choice but to make this work. No one wants to live like this. The sooner we unite to handle it. The sooner we get back to normal. Whatever that is. Pisses me of when millionaires whine about conditions. When the conditions are the ones who pay their bills.

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