Everyone hails the NBA’s play-in system. A good idea that gives juice to the season

ByShannon J. Cortes

Apr 14, 2022

I love the NBA play-in system.

Despite the results, the whole concept seems to be working so well and after listening to Adam Silver last week after the board of governors meeting and speaking with Evan Wasch from the league office on a Zoom call a day or two later , the news that it’s basically here to stay is welcome.

There are all sorts of reasons why this works.

First, it creates more playoff games without adding more playoff teams and there’s nothing wrong with that. The drama of single games is important and having three nights of great games to watch before the playoffs even start is something that I imagine fans around the world appreciate.

What it also did was keep more teams more involved at the end of the regular season and that’s never a bad thing. Yeah, there’s tanking and absolutely player rest over time (it’s been a problem for over a decade and it’s by no means “new”) but, overall, more teams have more to hunt in the past month than ever before.

Also, watching the Timberwolves on Tuesday and the Pelicans last night celebrating was a highlight, it was real joy and excitement at an accomplishment and how is that ever a bad thing?

The play-in also drives competition, it boosts ratings (which may or may not matter to us all) and boosts attendance in the final two weeks of the season in a few additional cities. If I remember correctly from last week’s call, Wasch said there were 24 or 25 teams vying for at least a play-in spot in the final month of the season. It’s rather good.

And I can tell you firsthand that the Raptors went after sixth and eventually got fifth largely because they knew the extra week off would be huge for Fred VanVleet to get off the knee for a few more days.

I don’t really know what changes can be made to the system to make it better.

I think the inherent unfairness of making the No. 1 seed wait until the day before the playoffs start to learn their opponent needs to be addressed, but I don’t know how.

Maybe go Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday with the playoffs but I’m not sure that satisfies the TV partners and they are absolutely a part of it.

But, really, that’s the only thing and if you’re the #1 seed and you have a week off, only having one day for your video/scouting team to finalize changes on the one of the two teams you will face is not a huge problem.

I also don’t think they can put a ‘trigger’ on it like the number of games behind eighth place because I don’t think you can have that level of uncertainty.

No, I don’t see any negatives to this week and I’m glad the league came up with the idea and I’m really glad it’s not going away.

I think we should save Ye Olde Mailbag for now as the playoffs begin, because a lot of the fun is dealing with matters entirely away from the Raptors or even basketball.

But I’d like to use a lot of Saturday afternoon to start, so the sooner you send things to [email protected] the better for me and I know you all want to make sure I’m happy.

So send something today and it will help me.

My immediate reaction to Clayton Kershaw’s kerfuffle yesterday — the Dodgers kicked him out when he had a perfect 80 pitch game after seven innings — was to be appalled.

Here’s a guy trying to do what’s only been done 23 times in the long history of baseball and you’re denying him that chance because of what “could” happen?

Yes, I understand there is a risk. There is a risk every day, every outing, every terrain. It is a fact of professional sporting life.

Do you have a guy with a chance to join a very select group? You let him.

I have to say, the Raptors-Sixers schedule has worked really well from our perspective.

A 6 p.m. start for Game 1 is exceptional, a day game for Game 4 allows plenty of writing time and an evening off; it’s better to have two days between games 2 and 3 rather than games 3 and 4, but having two days between games 5 and 6 is nice and a start at 7:30 p.m. and only one at 8 p.m. so far works well for time limit.

Not knowing the start times for games late in the series is a pain, but it’s been that way for years and there’s nothing we can do about it.

We’re keen to deliver setup stories like this from yesterday and it’s nice to have a post-season to worry about again for, really, the first time since 2019 for most of us. we.

Speaking of Philadelphia, if anyone has a great place downtown for Easter Sunday dinner, I’m all ears. Since The Palm’s tragic closure a few years ago, there hasn’t been a well-established hangout in the area.

Or a good place to settle down and watch the basketball playoffs would also be welcome.


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