Who Dropped The Ball?

By Chase Sommer

May 3, 2021

This summer, the NBA will conduct its inaugural play-in tournament with the victors making the playoffs and the losers being left with nothing. The tournament is set to consist of teams seeded seven through ten battling it out for two playoff spots. Though this spectacle is sure to draw in viewership with the drama and the winner take all system, notable players and owners have voiced frustration with the system in place. Seeing this conflict between the league and the participants leaves the fans with only one question in mind, who dropped the ball?

This summer, the NBA will conduct its inaugural play-in tournament with the victors making the playoffs and the losers being left with nothing. The tournament is set to consist of teams seeded seven through ten battling it out for two playoff spots. Though this spectacle is sure to draw in viewership with the drama and the winner take all system, notable players and owners have voiced frustration with the system in place. Seeing this conflict between the league and the participants leaves the fans with only one question in mind, who dropped the ball?

The NBA regular season is normally an eighty-two game season. With this level of volume, normally the playoff teams should be able to work hard during the regular season, earn their playoff berth, and look forward to competing for the title. Instead, this year, everything has changed. The tournament will begin with teams seven and eight playing and teams nine and ten playing. The winner of the first, will claim the seventh seed in the NBA playoffs, while the loser and the winning team of the second game will face off for the eighth seed. While the drama is sure to increase viewership, NBA superstar, former Rookie of the Year and All- League player Luka Doncic had his opinion to offer, stating “You play 72 games to get in the playoffs, then maybe you lose two in a row and you’re out of the playoffs. I don’t see the point of that.” Luka is frustrated with the way things are being changed, and feels as though his team could get the short end of the stick. Additionally, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban went on the record saying “rather than playing for a playoff spot and being able to rest players as the standings become clearer, teams have to approach every game as a playoff game to either get into or stay in the top 6” since the consequences, as Luka said, are enormous. So players are playing more games and more minutes in fewer days.” Cuban raised the question of the player's health, and with multiple stars out with injury, it’d be hard to deny that he isn't speaking some truth. Either way, this play in debacle is to be determined on how well it will perform, but the most worrisome thing is the players health, and they deserve to be treated better rather than being forced into needless injury and assuming much more risk for potentially only two more games.