This past season, amidst the novel coronavirus and the need to resume the campaign inside of a bubble site, the NBA staged a play-in tournament leading up to the playoffs.
It looks like the league may do the same this upcoming season.
“The tournament would begin with No. 7 hosting No. 8, and the winner locking into the No. 7 spot,” wrote Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe of ESPN. “Meanwhile, No. 9 would face No. 10, with the winner advancing to play the loser of the 7-versus-8 matchup for the No. 8 seed.
“The No. 7 and No. 8 seed would therefore have two opportunities to win a game to advance to the playoffs.
“The discussions about the play-in tournament have so far not included a standings trigger.”
The 2019-20 play-in tournament was held, in part, to compensate for the fact that the season did not constitute a full slate of 82 games.
A total of 22 teams were invited to the bubble site in Orlando, Fla., 13 of them from the Western Conference.
In the end, it was the Portland Trail Blazers, who weren’t even among the top eight seeds when the season resumed, that made the postseason in the West.
According to reports, the NBA is aiming to start the 2020-21 season in late December and have each team play a total of about 72 games.