NBA announces play-in tournament format for 2020-21

Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images /

The NBA has released the details of the 2020-21 playoff play-in tournament.

The NBA is set to return to play before Christmas and details are beginning to come out about the format of the 2020-21 season. We know there will be a 72-game schedule and that it will be released in two parts.

The league is also getting creative and keeping the play-in format for some final postseason spots, with a bit of a change from what was seen in the Orlando bubble this past summer. Now teams seeded 7-10 will enter into a tournament to decide the final two playoff spots in each conference.

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The change states that in each conference, the No. 7 seed and No. 8 seed will play a game, with the winner claiming the No. 7 spot. The loser will then go on to play the winner of No. 9 vs. No. 10 to decide the eighth and final playoff spot. So the advantage comes with being No. 7 and No. 8 as there are two chances to pick up one victory.

This is a temporary change and is great news for teams who are still building and expected to miss out on the playoffs under normal circumstances. Young teams can now play a true do-or-die game and still gain the experience even with a loss.

The NBA is getting creative and more playoff games also means more money. That is never a bad thing when attendance is still in question. It also keeps teams out of the eighth spot more competitive and should help prevent as much tanking over the course of a long season.

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Adam Silver’s league has stood out as the most proactive and capable of playing during the COVID-19 pandemic. An already unique season is the perfect time to test out these new formats and while some fans may complain, the teams in the No. 7 and No. 8 spots should not lose two games against lesser competition if they want to compete for a championship.