NBA Play In

The NBA Play-In Proved Its Worth Last Night

This week of games has been an absolute home run for fans of the NBA and it was the perfect appetizer for what’s to come in the playoffs that start TODAY. I am fucking hyped, we finally get a daily dose of the best basketball the NBA has to offer. Players giving 100% FULL EFFORT. This years Eastern Conference looks like a certified GAUNTLET. These playoffs better live up to my high expectation. I want ALL OUT WAR on the court.

One of the biggest criticisms in the past couple of years amongst NBA fans is that they are having too many games where the players look lifeless and flat. Where not every game is meaningful and things feel drawn out until playoff time. Like basketball is actually their job and their heads are not always 100% locked-in on work. You know what I’m talking about. Some days at work I know you are just going through the motions, scrolling through TikTok waiting for the earliest chance you get to go home. Some games I watch a regular season NBA game and it feels the same. Especially with this trend of “rest” and “load management” I think everyone in the NBA-sphere can agree that there is something the league can do to up the stakes and make sure the fans are getting the best product; because when it is, the league is a whole lot of fun. 

The play-in this week has showed us what happens when everybody on the court and the fans in the arena are locked the fuck in. Unfortunately, now that the play-in is over, people who haven’t watched a lick of the NBA all year are going to start popping up with outrageous takes, and the phony narratives are going to start piling up. If you ask me, this is when Twitter officially becomes a cesspool of NBA “fans.” The game is better when we are talking about THE GAME and not the stupid hypotheticals and the fake titles we give players for winning game one of a first round series. The only thing saving us from the same recycled, exhausting, unoriginal sports news is that LeBron James is not in the playoffs this year. They’ll still find a way to sneak the GOAT debate in, because these sports networks just can’t help themselves. 

Regardless, the play-in tournament DELIVERED LAST NIGHT. We had great games for fans, gave storylines for the media, and I think it really has served its purpose: you can see less teams are tanking down the stretch. I have been pretty against having 2/3 of the league qualify for the post season, but if the NBA gets innovative here it’s only going to embed its place further into the playoff process. Just look how hyped Pat Bev and the T-Wolves got after winning a play-in game! Hopefully they didn’t blow their whole load, because they have to play a pretty good Grizzlies team!

Now in terms of an in season tournament, unless you break it down or totally remake the divisions into two per conference, I’m not sure what structure or incentive can be provided for this whole thing to go down successfully. Are we going to guarantee a playoff spot and/or home court to a team after winning a tournament in the middle of a season? What if there is a huge collapse? A star gets injured? Do they just start resting guys if they know they have a playoff spot? These are some just some risks right off the top of my head when trying to design something like this. 

Regardless, that is for Adam Silver, the NBA and the NBAPA to decide. I think it would be cool to have an inter-division tournament as it could bring out the best in players and may even renew some rivalries, but it should be known off the bat that money won’t move the needle because if you don’t win the tournament, no big deal, the guys on veteran or minimal deals can just shake down their teammates with the max contracts when they hit the strip club after the game. I do not have all the answers, but I just want us all to think of some ideas as we watch today and for the rest of the playoffs. Anyways, I leave you with that. Happy Playoffs and hopefully we see some lit shit today. Happy Saturday!



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