Why Mavericks star Luka Doncic and owner Mark Cuban are right about the play-in
The play-in tournament concept is simple. The NBA wants a game that will attract fans and create a massive buzz to kick off their postseason. It worked as the Portland Trail Blazers topped the Memphis Grizzlies during the bubble with Damian Lillard and Ja Morant engaging in a shootout.
Luka was right it doesn’t make sense, though. They play 72 regular-season games to determine the seeds, so why should one game be able to end your season? Dallas is currently 1.5 games ahead of the eighth-seeded Grizzlies and 2.5 up on the Spurs in ninth. They earned the right over the regular season to be the seventh seed.
To make matters worse, the Mavericks have the tenth best record in the league. 16 teams will make the playoffs, but Dallas could be sitting at home if they falter in the play-in tournament. Owner Mark Cuban was correct that the NBA needs to eliminate the conferences and seed it one through 16. That discussion is something that could and should be explored this offseason.
Cuban also touched on a lot of important points when it comes to games played over a short period. There was nothing normal about this season. Games were canceled and forced into the back part of the schedule. Teams played short-handed. Players are facing a significant risk of injury already, so adding two more high pressure could have significant negative consequences.
Next: Why they were wrong