“I don’t understand the idea of a play-in,” Doncic told reporters in the postgame press conference. “You play 72 games to get into the playoffs, then maybe you lose two in a row and you’re out of the playoffs. So I don’t see the point of that.”
Just a few hours later, Doncic received some support from Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.
“In hindsight, this approach was an enormous mistake,” Cuban told ESPN’s Tim MacMahon.
Cuban is a member of the NBA Board of Governors, which unanimously voted to approve the play-in tournament this season after experimenting with it during last year’s bubble playoffs. In the format, the seventh through 10th seeds in each conference will play a series of games to determine which teams will earn the No. 7 and No. 8 spots for the first round of the postseason.
“I get why the NBA is doing it,” Cuban said, per MacMahon. “But if we are going to be creative because of COVID, we should go straight up 1-20 and let the bottom 4 play in. This is the year particularly to do it since the 10 games cut [from the normal 82-game schedule] were in conference.
“The worst part of this approach is that it doubles the stress of the compressed schedule. Rather than playing for a playoff spot and being able to rest players as the standings become clearer, teams have to approach every game as a playoff game to either get into or stay in the top 6 since the consequences, as Luka said, are enormous. So players are playing more games and more minutes in fewer days.”
Mark Cuban was part of unanimous vote approving NBA’s play-in tournament. “But the compression of so many games into so few days makes this an enormous mistake,” he told ESPN. https://t.co/jVxy2G56zI
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) April 13, 2021
The Mavericks (29-24) currently hold the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference, so would be forced to participate in the play-in tournament if the season ended today. Dallas trails the Portland Trail Blazers by two full games with just 19 regular season contests remaining.
If the Mavericks aren’t able to elevate themselves from the seventh spot, Doncic and Cuban might be even more unhappy for the start of the play-in tournament in late May.
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