NBA Play-In 2021: which players and coaches are in favor of the new format?
As the play-in approaches, the controversial new format comes into play. Liked by many, hated by others. What do coaches, players and, owners have to say?
It may seem that this question is a matter of where one team is seeded compared to another. Yes, this play-in is a new format, but it did not come out of left-field to borrow a baseball reference. Players, owners, and coaches knew from the beginning of the 2021 season that this would be a reality. But it is only recently that we see prominent NBA figures speak out either in favor or against it.
Who is against it?
Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, told ESPN that the play-in was a mistake back in April, yet he voted in favor of it at the beginning of the season. His team is seeded six in the Western Conference, and they could fail to make the playoffs if they fall into the seven seed and have to play the play-in tournament.
In addition, to Cuban's comments, Mavericks star Luka Doncic has also expressed his concerns with the new format, saying he does not understand the new format. The Eslovenian sentiment comes at a moment in the season where the Mavs are clinging to a direct spot that will qualify them to the playoffs.
Luka Doncic, whose Mavs are 7th in the West: "I don't understand the idea of the play-in [tournament]. You play 72 games to get in the playoffs, then maybe you lose two in a row and you're out of the playoffs. I don't see the point of that."— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) April 13, 2021
Recently LeBron James has also criticized the idea. He has even stated that whoever came out with the idea should be fired. The Lakers, where the small forward plays, is in the seven seed in the Western Conference. The star has missed most of the season because of an ankle injury. And his team is struggling to make it to the playoffs without him.
Who is in favor?
In contrast, Steve Kerr, coach of The Golden State Warriors, likes the new concept. The Warriors coach said that he loves it, "The last month's been infinitely more interesting for NBA fans. It's great. If you finish 7th and you lose two games straight, then you probably weren't good enough to advance to the Playoffs anyway. That's just the truth." His team is seeded eighth in the Western Conference and most likely will face the Lakers at the play-in.
The NBA's commissioner Adam Silver has always stated wanting to energize the regular season. In the past, the competition has been criticized. The season's last games are always more of a bore, with teams already in the playoffs reserving their stars for the postseason.
It does seem like the winners are the fans who get to enjoy more games and a more fought-out season.
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