If you like other sports, and you keep interest in the NFL or NHL, the NBA can get a little complex when you delve into it, with tournaments like the play in tournament.
There is so much to NBA basketball, it can be easy to get confused as a newbie, and with the sport continually growing, you are always welcoming new aspects to the game, and the play in tournaments is something that is pretty new.
It is also a rather significant aspect to the NBA with NBA betting as well, you can bet on the play in tournaments too.
So, what is this, how did it start, and is there any part of it worth watching this year?
It began In 2021
The play-in’s were started in 2021. Fans seem to love it, but some teams are not so keen. The reasoning being that it does steal away a sense of security for those who just managed to weed their way into the play-offs.
However, for some others, it does give them a chance, when in previous times they never would have dreamt of making the playoffs.
In the previous years, the best 8 teams per conference would end up qualifying to play in the postseason, meanwhile every other team would start playing in the off season.
With the introduction of the play-in tournament, only the top 6 teams per conference will end up having a guaranteed playoff placement.
This means that when the regular season play ends, ranking teams 7, 8, 9, and 10 compete in the play-ins.
The 7th will host the 8th, and the 9th will host the 10th.
The winning team of the first will be named the official 7th, and the loser will be eliminated from postseason play.
The loser of the 7th Vs 8th game will face off the winner of the 9th Vs 10th, and whoever wins will officially be 8th.
The Play-In Tournament This Year
As the regular season has ended, playoff season is now well underway, this means that the play-in tournament is too. It begins in just a couple of days at the time of writing.
As favorites to win at the start of the season, there were two teams who were favorites by a long shot, the Nets and the Lakers.
However, the Lakers are totally out, and the Nets are hanging by a thread, clinging to the play-ins.
In this winner-takes-all game that features seeds 7-10 in each conference, the playoff spots are up for grabs and the Nets are hoping for an ‘in’.
Technically the play-ins have already begun, and they will end soon, so what do we know so far?
Well, the play-ins have already seen two winners, and the Nets are it. They beat the Cavaliers 115-108, and the Timberwolves also won their match up against the Clippers.
This means that on Sunday 17th April you can expect to see the Nets playing off against the Celtics in the first round of the playoffs!
How Is The Play-In Formatted?
It’s a bit complicated, and takes a bit to get your head around, we won’t lie about that. It’s complicated. But, now that the Nets were struggling for a win, and having won their play-in game, they now have a position in the playoffs.
How does it all work? Well, it just gives the teams a chance for the playoffs. The Nets are a great example of this, hanging by a thread by now making it into the playoffs!
Which Teams Are In It This Year?
This year we have seen three play in days covering 6 games.
On Tuesday, April 12th we saw the Cavaliers face off against the Nets, with a Nets victory, and the Clippers against the Timberwolves, with a Timberwolves win.
We are still yet to know the results from Wednesday 13th where the Hornets face off against the Hawks, and the Spurs face the Pelicans.
On Friday 15th, the Winner of the 3rd game will Vs the Loser of the 1st, and the Winner of the 4th will face the Loser of the 2nd.
What Was The Original Format Of The Play-In?
It was not always formatted like this. In 2020, the NBA board approved the first ever play-in game, it was part of their plans as a return to play post Covid-19.
The 8th and 9th seeds in each conference were within 4 games of one another, and so they would play against each other. If the 8th won they would advance, if the 8th won a second game would be played.
Only if the 9th seed won both games would they advance into the playoffs.
What Is The Current Format Of The Play-In?
Obviously, a lot has changed since then. They approved a new format for the 2021 season, and this has been in place ever since. It is more complicated, but it allows for fair competition.
The 7th and 8th face each other, the 9th and 10th face each other, and then there is an 8th seed game, and finally winners that advance to the playoffs.
For a new idea, it sure has caught on fast!