In this week’s poll, we asked fans if they support keeping the NBA’s play-in tournament. Of the those that participated, roughly 72% of the voters stated that they are fans of the addition to the postseason.
However, there is still a large portion of people that do not like the play-in and are very adamant that the NBA no longer has it. But why?
One advocate for the discontinuation of the play-in is NBA veteran and co-host of the All the Smoke podcast Stephen Jackson.
On April 12, Jackson voiced his opinion about the tournament to co-star Matt Barnes in an episode of All the Smoke.
“I’m not a fan,” said Jackson. “I’m old school. I feel like the top eight teams that took care of they business in the regular season gets the chance to be in the playoffs because they deserve it. They did what they was supposed to do.”
Jackson’s reasoning is honestly very solid.
Many older fans, and fans of teams that are perennial playoff contenders, are typically the ones that dislike the concept of giving a 10-seed an extra opportunity, and reasonably so.
However, in the Covid era of professional sports, some teams really did just get a bad break during an important stretch of the regular season.
In 2020, the year the play-in tournament was first introduced Covid impacted the game like nothing before. Towards the end of the season once the players entered “the bubble”, things were going down to the wire in the Western conference. The 12th seed was only four games back from the eighth seed. The 10th seed Phoenix Suns were only half a game back from being in the playoffs and actually won their final seven games to end the regular season. It was simply too close to not give then a chance.
But not only does the tournament give the teams a final opportunity, but it gives the fans of less fortunate franchises hope. When the Golden State Warriors dealt with injury upon injury in the ‘21 season, they had to battle all year long and wound up in the play-in. But nobody was mad at this because they knew if healthy, the Warriors are a championship contender in any given year. So of course they deserved a shot. Plus who can complain about their being more basketball to watch.
This Play-In tournament might be the best thing Adam Silver has done for the NBA and that’s saying a lot because he’s done a lot of great things! Carry the hell on…— Kendrick Perkins (@KendrickPerkins) April 13, 2022
Similar to the bubble games held to start the NCAA March Madness tournament, the play-in sort of jumpstarts the postseason. It gets the fans and the rest of the league mentally prepared for one of the greatest spectacles in sports: the NBA Playoffs.