NBA considering play-in tournament to determine playoff seeds
The NBA has been reportedly eyeing the potential of play-in tournaments to determine the final two playoff teams in each conference, which would yield the result the fans have clamored for such a long time, revamping the current top-eight seeds per conference format.
ESPN’s Zach Lowe explained that this idea had gained “behind-the-scenes momentum,” while putting this plan in place is “not imminent” at the moment, with many kinks to tweak before coming out with a final proposal.
According to several of Lowe’s sources, one particular proposal has garnered the most attention.
“Two four-team tournaments featuring the seventh, eighth, ninth, and 10th seeds in each conference. The seventh seed would host the eighth seed, with the winner of that single game nabbing the seventh spot, sources say. Meanwhile, the ninth seed would host the 10th seed, with the winner of that game facing the loser of the 7-versus-8 matchup for the final playoff spot.”
This would present a scenario similar to a wild-card game in baseball and football, but making it instead a mini-tournament, one that could actually reward the seventh and eighth seed for clinching the playoffs by playing a one-and-out game, while making the loser of the first game and the two catch-up teams outside the bubble earn it through two win-or-go-home games.
Besides the obvious extra viewership the league could garner for this, they can also solidify their case for getting the best teams and entice teams outside of the playoff picture to fight for the ninth or tenth seed to stand a chance to crack the postseason, instead of choosing to tank and hopes the ping-pong balls fall in their grace.