Los Angeles (AFP)
NBA commissioner Adam Silver has said he hopes to see the league’s play-in tournament continue into next season despite criticism of the new format by some players and team owners.
The league adopted play-in – a mini-tournament between teams ranked seventh through tenth in each conference to determine the final two playoff spots – during the pandemic-disrupted 2020 season.
The NBA used the format again this year after the regular season was shortened due to the compressed offseason.
While the format has proven to be popular – Wednesday’s game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Golden State Warriors was the most-watched NBA game on ESPN since 2019 – not everyone is a fan.
Lakers star LeBron James criticized the format earlier this month, while Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said his initial support for the format change had been a “huge mistake.”
Silver, however, told ESPN Radio on Friday that he hoped the play-ins would return, stressing that he had sustained an interest in the regular season with more teams vying for a possible playoff spot.
“I made no secret that I wanted it to be long term,” Silver told ESPN, adding that he had to convince teams and players to fully support the change.
“I understand the feeling that if I were a team – a seeded seven in particular – the idea that after a long season you could potentially play out of the playoffs.
“I think at the same time the teams recognize the extra interest we’ve created over the last month of the season and these play-in games are worth it. “
Silver said players expressed mixed feelings to him during the game.
“A player, who is on the union executive, told me yesterday that he really liked the play-in tournament, but he thought it might be a little unfair,” Silver said.
“For example, if you were the seventh seed and had a significant number of games ahead of the eighth seed, the idea that you might somehow lose two games and be out of the game. playoffs seems unfair. “
But Silver added that the play-in encouraged more teams to play hard until the end of the regular season.
“I think the play-in tournament had an impact… pushing teams that, frankly otherwise, would have thrown in the towel a few weeks ago to fight for those last places in the playoffs,” he said.
The Washington Wizards and Boston Celtics emerged from the Eastern Conference play-in to take the seventh and eighth seeds, while in the Western Conference the Lakers won the seventh seed in series.
The Warriors face the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday to determine the eighth seed in the West.
© 2021 AFP