The NBA could adopt some form of a play-in round in future seasons, commissioner Adam Silver told Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix.
The league created the possibility of a play-in series for the resumption, and there will be one in the Western Conference. Portland, which moved into the No. 8 spot, will face No. 9 Memphis. The Blazers can advance to a first-round matchup against the top-seeded Lakers with a victory on Saturday. The Grizzlies must knock off the Blazers on consecutive days to earn the right to face the Lakers.
Silver said a play-in series was under consideration for years, so it might not be a one-time thing:
“I do see this as something we would embrace going forward. As you know I’ve been talking about it for a while. We saw this as an opportunity to institute a form of it. I’m not sure if this would be the exact format going forward. But this is something we’d like to see stay.”
As Mannix notes, three Western Conference teams played in meaningful games Thursday that decided the eighth and ninth seeds. Portland’s season would have ended if it hadn’t survived a one-point decision against Brooklyn.
The NBA considered a play-in tournament as recently as last fall, as part of a broader proposal to create a 78-game regular season and an in-season tournament, Mannix notes. Under that proposal, four teams in each conference would compete for the final two seeds during the play-in round.
The ever-popular commissioner would have to sell that plan to the players and coaches to make it a reality. This year’s format, with the eighth and ninth seeds facing each other, might be a greater possibility for future seasons.