NBA weighing play-in tourney to determine bottom seeds

Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard drives to the basket during a game against the Grizzlies.

The NBA is contemplating a playoff play-tournament involving the bottom seeds in each conference, and such a plan is under serious consideration, according to an ESPN report.

Apparently, the tourney would consist of the seventh, eighth, ninth and 10th seeds. The winners would be awarded the seventh and eighth seeds and, of course, earn nothing more than the right to face the conference’s top two teams in the first round.

Per ESPN, the play-in tournament would begin with the seventh seed hosting the eighth — and the winner would be awarded the No. 7 overall spot and a matchup with No. 2.

Along with that, the ninth seed would host the 10th, and the winner would face the loser of the matchup between Nos. 7 and 8. Whoever won that game would be the No. 8 seed in the playoffs.

The idea of a play-in tournament first surfaced during the league’s restart on the Disney campus, with the Portland Trail Blazers and Memphis Grizzlies taking part in a one-game tilt for the eighth seed. The Blazers hung on to win, earning the right to face the eventual defending champion Los Angeles Lakers in the first round.

“The success of that format led to speculation the NBA would add a standings trigger to the play-in proposal for standard seasons,” ESPN reported. “The Dallas Mavericks, the No. 7 seeds in the West in 2019-20, finished 7½ games ahead of the No. 8 team — leading league insiders to wonder if it would be fair to include a No. 7 seed with such a huge cushion in the proposed 7-10 play-in.”

About the Author

Sam Amico
Sam Amico is the founder and senior writer of Amico Hoops. He has covered the NBA on a full-time basis for both Sports Illustrated and FOX Sports, and has been a regular contributor to CBS Sports, the Boston Herald and

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