76ers president Daryl Morey:
I can't believe the NBA hastily implemented a change that makes games more interesting and meaningful pic.twitter.com/B1y23dJD9s
— Daryl Morey 🗽🏀 (@dmorey) May 3, 2021
It seems most decisionmakers agree with Morey’s sarcastically delivered message. The league appears on track to permanently adopt play-in tournaments.
The play-in tournaments put more stakes on the regular season. Rather than simply trying to get in the top eight to make the playoffs, it’s now significantly better to finish in the top six than seventh than eighth than ninth than 10th than outside the top 10. Plus, there will be six play-in games that will be thrilling in their own right.
Everyone must adjust to a new bar: Finishing top six – not top eight – is the standard for directly qualifying for the playoffs from the regular season.
Change can be difficult to accept, especially for teams that finish seventh and eighth – like possibly the Lakers, Mavericks and Warriors. That probably explains much of LeBron’s, Cuban’s and Green’s consternation.
Relatedly, it also might not be coincidental Morey is supporting the play-in as his 76ers are well clear of that sixth/seventh-place line.