The Play-in tournament will feature teams from 7th to 10th seed on both conferences
The most exciting time of the year is here – the NBA playoffs. However, starting from the NBA 2020 – 2021 season, the NBA has introduced a new sequence in the league – known as the Play-in tournaments.
The introduction of the play-in tournament will give the league more storylines to follow as teams that were previously out of contention at 9th or 10th seed will get a fighting chance into the playoffs. Usually nearing the last 20 games of the season, the structure of the league standings is already laid out and the teams that cannot make it have become extremely clear. However, the introduction of the play-in will make the league more competitive – at a fair condition.
The Play-in Tournament
So things are a bit different this time around. From both the Eastern and Western Conferences, four teams will partake in the play-in tournament. Seeds 7-10 will form a bracket where there will be three games total. First, the 7-8 seeds will play each other to decide who will be the 7-seed. The loser of that game plays the winner of the 9-10 game to determine who will be the 8-seed. The featured image in this post provides a clear visualization of this,
After the play-in, the playoff takes place using the usual standard format.
Likely Teams Participating in the Playin
As is usual, the standings of the teams may become very volatile in the last week of the regular season. In this short week period, teams that go on a winning or losing streak may very likely displace the standings of the other teams as well.
Most notably, there is a small likelihood of the 6th seed team losing all their games and potentially have their seat taken over – while they themselves drop into the play-ins. Meanwhile, the 11th seed of both conferences may have their chances at pushing into the 10th seed. The chances of this happening are very slim as they have a considerable gap, but mathematically, they are not out of the race yet. If the 11th seed Chicago Bulls and New Orlean Pelicans want to push for a play-in miracle, they will likely need to win all their upcoming games.
Here is a table of the East Conference & West Conference teams, how many games they have left (The total games this season are 72 games), and the game break they have with one another. (Game break means the gap between team’s winning records that determine their standings):
|6||Portland Trail Blazers||3||–|
|7||Los Angeles Lakers||4||1.5|
|8||Golden State Warriors||3||4.0|
|10||San Antonio Spurs||4||6.5|
|11||New Orleans Pelicans||3||9.0|