NBA fans have not seen the last of the play-in tournament. According to Adrian Wojnarowski, the league and Players Association have agreed to try this season’s play-in format again in 2021-22.
The NBA’s Board of Governors will soon vote to make the decision official, Woj tweeted Friday.
The NBA and the Players Association have agreed to extend the play-in tournament format through the 2021-2022 season, sources tell ESPN. The league’s Board of Governors will make it official in a formal vote soon.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 16, 2021
Many believed the play-in tournament to be a temporary solution for the COVID-shortened 72-game season. With ten fewer games to crystallize the standings in 2021, the play-in format allowed the nine and ten-seeds to prove themselves playoff worthy. After many months of empty stadiums, the play-ins also drive some bonus TV revenue.
Commissioner Adam Silver apparently wants to see how the play-ins fit into a “normal’ 82-game season. The format produced a blockbuster Lakers-Warriors matchup in 2021.
Outside of increasing revenue, the tournament provides hope for middling regular season teams that might normally resort to tanking. The NBA details the tournament on its website:
The winner of the Seven-Eight Game in each conference will earn the No. 7 seed…The loser of the Seven-Eight Game will host the winner of the Nine-Ten Game in a Play-In Game, and the winner of that game in each conference will earn the No. 8 seed.
While the 2021 play-ins were largely a public success, an especially strong seven or eight-seed is bound to complain about the current structure. See LeBron James, who faced Golden State in this year’s Seven-Eight Game.
“Whoever came up with that s— needs to be fired,” James said in May.
Evidently, the league views the play-ins as a positive addition to the NBA calendar.