NBA commissioner Adam Silver has made no secret of his desire to make the play-in tournament a permanent fixture of the league schedule. He does admit, however, that he has some people to win over first.
Silver told ESPN’s “Keyshawn, J-Will and Zubin” that the 30 NBA teams have supported the tournament “for the most part,” but suggested that he still has work to do on the players.
Silver said, via Tim Bontemps of ESPN:
“I haven’t made any secret that I want it to be [around long term]. I have two constituencies I need to convince of that. One is the 30 teams, and I think for the most part they’ve supported it. …
“Of course, the other constituency is the player. For example, one player, who is on the executive committee of the union, said to me yesterday that he really likes the play-in tournament but he felt it could potentially be a bit unfair. For example, if you were the seventh seed and you were a significant number of games ahead of the 8-seed, the notion that you could somehow lose two games and be out of the playoffs seems unfair.”
Silver felt that the play-in tournament had been a success and helped drive interest in the final weeks of the regular season. He did add that he is open to tweaking the format, perhaps in order to address some of those concerns.
Based on how this year’s games have gone, it’s pretty easy to see why Silver wants this to become an annual event. The matchups may not always be as exciting as the ones the league got this year, but the tournament seems to be driving interest in the game regardless, and that’s what ultimately matters to him.
There are definitely some high-profile players who hated the concept. Perhaps seeing it work in practice will help Silver change their minds.