The NBA Play-In Tournament is a fairly new system that was added to the league’s scheduling format a few years ago. The addition made the postseason race far more interesting as it gives a handful of teams a second chance to earn a playoff spot. Teams have taken advantage of this new format ever since it was introduced back in 2020. However, it has proven to be one of the most excruciating segments of the NBA season.
THE BRACKET IS SET 🍿 pic.twitter.com/j7Dn0yxXyy
— NBA (@NBA) April 9, 2023
Earlier, teams that ranked between the first and eighth seed would immediately qualify for the playoffs. The postseason would commence soon after the conclusion of the regular season. However, back then, the tenth and ninth seeds would’ve been eliminated from the playoff race entirely. This changed format allows a second chance for both seeds to redeem themselves.
The #ATTPlayIn, explained!
Teams ranked 7-10 will compete to secure the final two spots for each conference in the #NBAPlayoffs presented by Google Pixel.
THREAD ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/3w8AtsO96B
— NBA (@NBA) April 9, 2023
Since 2020, the seventh and eighth seeds would compete against each other and the winner would take the higher rank out of the two. The ninth and tenth seeds play each other and the winner would have to face the eighth seed for the final spot. The loser of this final game gets eliminated along with the tenth seed, thus completing the list of eight teams that qualify for the postseason.
Why was the NBA Play-In Tournament introduced?
During the 2019-2020 campaign, the world was struck by a deadly pandemic that had everybody under lockdown. It was very unfortunate what people had to go through, but eventually, the world had to try to move on. After four months of zero NBA activity, commissioner Adam Silver finally decided to get things going again and established the Bubble in Orlando.
Coming back to playing competitive basketball, several players were coming off serious rust and out of shape. Most teams were barely able to get by as well. Players were isolated from the world, which added to the misery. Hence, good teams were performing terribly, and bad teams were tanking even further. Even though this may not have been the biggest reason, the tournament was introduced for teams to take one last shot at playoff contention.
The NBA’s board of directors would end up adopting it into their league’s scheduling and game format. This tournament is a blessing in disguise for many teams that have struggled to make it through over the years. Especially the ones that always try to make a last-minute push into the postseason. The play-ins have always been very exciting to watch but also gut-wrenching at the same time.