As the NBA ponders altering the current format of the playoffs, ESPN‘s Zach Lowe reports that there is also a discussion about implementing a play-in tournament to determine the final two seeds in each conference.
According to Lowe, “two specific proposals are circulating at the highest levels within teams and the league office”:
The play-in proposal that has generated the most discussion, according to several sources: two four-team tournaments featuring the seventh, eighth, ninth, and 10th seeds in each conference. The seventh seed would host the eighth seed, with the winner of that single game nabbing the seventh spot, sources say. Meanwhile, the ninth seed would host the 10th seed, with the winner of that game facing the loser of the 7-versus-8 matchup for the final playoff spot.
Lowe goes on to clarify that this proposal falls behind the one-and-done rule in the pecking order, but could go hand-in-hand with other potential postseason tweaks, like re-seeding 1-16:
It is not coming next season, and it would be a shock if the NBA adopted it in time for 2020 or even 2021. It may never happen. Any such change would need approval from the competition committee, and then from a supermajority of 23 NBA teams. That process has not even started.
Supporters of the play-in tournament argue that it would not only help to reduce tanking, but also bring more excitement to the NBA schedule in March and April.