THE NBA regular season is set to end on May 16. It means that the playoffs are just around the corner. If the playoffs started today, this would be how the seedings would look:
(2) Brooklyn Nets
(3) Milwaukee Bucks
(4) New York Knicks
(5) Atlanta Hawks
(6) Boston Celtics
(1) Utah Jazz
(2) Phoenix Suns
(3) Denver Nuggets
(4) LA Clippers
(5) Dallas Mavericks
(6) LA Lakers
No, the NBA didn’t cut off playoff teams. These are just the first six teams assured of the playoffs. The 7th and 8th seeds are yet to be determined utilizing the Play-in scenario. Instituted last season, the play-in serves as an incentive for teams up to the 10th place of each conference.
Participating in the Play-in for the East are (7) Miami Heat, (8) Charlotte Hornets, (9) Indiana Pacers, and the (10) Washington Wizards. For the West, we have (7) Portland Trailblazers, (8) Memphis Grizzlies, (9) Golden State Warriors, and (10) San Antonio Spurs.
How will the play-in work? The 7th and 8th seed teams battle. The winner advances as the 7th seed. The loser faces the winner of the 9th seed vs. the 10th bracket.
The winning team of this bracket goes as the 8th seed of each conference. This new format makes the games exciting since it involves more teams vying for the last two playoff spots. At the same time, the top six continue to maintain their hold in their current position to avoid the complications of the play-in scenario. It also prevents teams from “tanking” early in the season.
Looking at the current seeding, we might see the defending Eastern Conference champions, Heat, miss the playoffs, and might also see the Dubs return to the playoffs.
Another exciting prospect this brings is that the number 1 and 2 seeds won’t have the luxury of scouting their opponents at 7th and 8th seeds in advance because of the unpredictability of the play-in scenarios.
Imagine having to scout and prepare your team for four possible match-ups with just barely enough time to spare. It is where the regular season match-ups can come into play for the coaching staff.
The regular season might be over soon, but the battle for the NBA Championship is starting to heat up, starting with the anticipated Play-in match-ups. Will your team make it to the NBA Finals?