Well, the NBA’s play-in tournament is returning for another season. Earlier today the league and the Player’s Association agreed to extend the play-in tournament through the 2021-22 season. The move will not be official until the NBA Board of Governors votes on it. While a good chunk of fans were not huge supporters of the tournament, it is back.
The play-in tournament, introduced for the 2020-21 season, gave the ninth and tenth seeded teams in the regular season in both conferences a chance to qualify for the postseason. Ultimately, the tournament has proven to be worthwhile so far. With more competitive games at the end of the regular season, it led to some good preview games. The tournament returning in 2021-22 does not surprise me considering its success this season. Even commissioner Adam Silver knew they were onto something with the tournament. Silver had a feeling the success of the tournament would lead to its return even before the league and NBPA agreed for this year.
It’s my expectation that we’ll continue (the tournament) for next season… I think, ultimately, although there were critics, not just LeBron [James] but others who weren’t in favor of it, and maybe some teams who weren’t thrilled with it, I think overall it was very positive for the league and the players. Certainly, there’d been some suggestions about some tweaks we should consider, but again, I think once we bring it back to our owners for a vote and the players association meets and has an opportunity to consider it, it’s my expectation that it will continue for next season,” Silver said.Kaskey-Blomain, Michael, 16 July 2021; https://www.cbssports.com/nba/news/nba-play-in-tournament-to-return-for-2021-22-season-per-report/
I personally hope they do not continue to decide on the play-in tournament on a year-to-year basis. If the NBA and the NBPA want an expanded playoff format, set it in stone for the long term. I have no problem with more basketball games happening, especially ones that decide the layout of the playoffs. Overall, the play-in was successful both for teams looking to stay alive and the NBA’s wallet. Whether the exact format of the play-in stays the same is in question but overall it should be permanent. Eventually, the NBA players who are not fond of it will get over it if their team happens to need that tournament to make the playoffs. The play-in is here to stay for another season so get ready NBA fans, playoff basketball is going to be fun to watch.