Hours after Luka Doncic criticized the idea of the NBA play-in tournament, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban told ESPN that the concept was “a huge mistake,” especially given the season’s compressed schedule.
“I understand why the NBA is doing this,” the Cuban said in a series of messages to ESPN. “But if we want to be creative about COVID, we should go straight to 1-20 and let the bottom 4 play. This is the year that has been especially the case since the 10 game cut.” [from the normal 82-game schedule] were in the conference.
“The worst part about this approach is that it doubles the stress of the compressed schedule. Instead of playing for a playoff seat and allowing players to rest when the ranking becomes clearer, teams have to view each game as a playoff game to to achieve both. ” stay in or under the top 6 as the consequences, as Luka said, are enormous. So players play more games and more minutes in fewer days. “
The NBA Board of Governors, which includes Cubans, unanimously approved a proposal to host a play-in tournament for this season after the league first used it ahead of the playoffs in the bubble last summer.
“In retrospect, that approach was a huge mistake,” the Cuban told ESPN.
Dallas (29-24) ranks seventh on the Western Conference rankings, which means the Mavs would have to play in the play-in tournament if they couldn’t move up. They’re two games behind the Portland Trail Blazers, who own the tiebreaker between the teams for beating Dallas in two of their three encounters.
“I don’t understand the idea of a play-in,” said Doncic on Monday. “You play 72 games to get into the playoffs, then you might lose two in a row and be out of the playoffs. So I don’t get the point.”
The play-in concept includes the teams that occupy seventh to tenth place in each conference. The structure that the NBA announced in November includes three games in each conference.
The teams in seventh and eighth place play against each other, with the winner receiving the seventh seed. The teams in ninth and tenth place also play against each other, with the loser being eliminated from the playoff competition. The loser of the 7-8 game and the winner of the 9-10 game then play with the eighth playoff seed at stake.
“In a regular season of 82 games where we don’t play more than 30 games in 6 weeks, it might have been fine,” the Cuban told ESPN. “But compressing so many games in so few days makes this a huge mistake.” If we had gone from 1 to 16 with the top 12 it would still have been tough, but there would have been more separation between games. in and the top 12. This is a season when we players with high usage have to rest. We have no choice. And that can and will have consequences. “
According to the league office, the NBA teams had an average of 3.42 games per week on last season’s schedule. That has increased to 3.6 games per week this season, including 3.75 games per week on the post-all-star break schedule.
The Mavericks usually rest Kristaps Porzingis for one game during back-to-back games and the occasional Doncic for parts back-to-back.