The NBA recently announced that it would be bringing back the play-in tournament for another season. The play-in tournament has been a topic of discussion with Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James being chief among those opposed to it, and now team owner Jeanie Buss has weighed in on the subject.
Buss has always been open about her thoughts on anything when asked and has never held back when she believes something is wrong and should be changed. In this case, Buss is right in line with her star player on the play-in tournament.
In an interview with Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic, Buss said that while she understands the appeal of the tournament, she doesn’t like the idea of diminishing the importance of the regular season:
“I obviously see the excitement of it. If we would have lost two games, we wouldn’t have been in the playoffs at all. And that’s, that’s a tough pill to swallow. When you’ve been in the top eight for the entire season. You never dropped out of the playoff position. But yet, you know, you can lose two games, and that’s what happened to Golden State, they were at the eighth spot, and then they ended up losing to us and then to Memphis and they didn’t make it in the playoffs. I could see where it’s kind of fun for one game, but I don’t want to diminish what happens in the regular season.”
There is definitely some truth to the argument that a play-in could diminish what happens in the regular season. The original play-in tournament was due to the pandemic shutting the season down and teams who had a chance to catch up not having the same amount of games to do so. But in a full season, that won’t be the case, and it is unfair to the team who did what they were supposed to do for 82 games.
On the other side of that argument is the case of excitement, as Buss pointed out. Rarely will the league get the Lakers-Warriors matchup they received last season, but it will still be appointment viewing. Additionally, it does give teams who may have dealt with injuries or other issues during the season a chance to salvage things and keep playing hard as opposed to just shutting things down and tanking for the rest of the year, as was the case with the Wizards last season.
Regardless of the thoughts of LeBron James and Jeanie Buss, it looks as if the play-in tournament is here to stay. Perhaps some changes can be made to make it better, but it’s hard to see things going back to the way they were at this point.
LeBron James spoke with Adam Silver on play-in tournament
LeBron has been one of the most outspoken people regarding the play-in tournament, and it should come as no surprise that he has voiced his issues with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver already.
Silver revealed that he spoke with James on the play-in tournament and that he understands his concerns, and that James also understands the NBA’s point of view. Silver also added that he is open to tinkering with the tournament in the future.