The NBA play-in tournament was installed back in 2020, and was unanimously approved for the 2021 season. However, as the season went on and injuries occurred to star players, surprise teams have made their way into the seventh to tenth seeds.
With the surprise teams having the possibility of playing in the NBA play-in tournament, the chaos that could ensue will be on par with March Madness. The possible upsets of title favorites mean that there will be some outcomes that can potentially achieve the ‘madness’ fans saw this past March.
NBA Play-In Tournament Possibilities
Possibility #1: A Winner-Take-All Game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors
As the Western Conference standings currently sit, the Warriors are the ninth seed and the Lakers are sixth. Depending on how the remaining games go for both Golden State and Los Angeles, NBA fans could be in store for one of the best NBA Play-In Tournament games in history.
Obviously this is the most interesting scenario that can occur in the NBA play-in tournament. LeBron and Steph battling it out just for a chance to get into the playoffs, not even for the trophy. In what would be an unexpected match-up, the Lakers-Warriors winner-take-all may be the launching pad for the future of the NBA play-in tournament.
Possibility #2: Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal carry the Wizards into the NBA Playoffs
Currently the tenth seed, and a half game behind the ninth seed, the Wizards have the chance to crack into the playoffs. After a 3-12 start, half a month of games taken away from their schedule because of COVID, Beal trade rumors, and the injury to Thomas Bryant, the Wizards have to be ecstatic to make the playoffs.
The reason why Washington has cracked into the NBA Play-In Tournament conversation? A eight-game winning streak in April. Now Beal and company did capitalize on an easy schedule, but it was a streak nonetheless, and the streak vaulted them into the playoff conversation.
Possibility #3: A Zion Williamson – Ja Morant Winner-Take-All Match-Up
A match-up consisting of the 2019 Draft’s top two picks will be exciting. As the standings sit currently, the Grizzlies are slated to play in the tournament, and the Pelicans are only a few games out of clinching their spot in the play-in tournament.
NBA fans better get their cameras ready, as a winner-take-all NBA Play-In Tournament game between these two stars will create a highlight reel for the ages.
Possibility #4: The Boston Celtics or Miami Heat miss the Playoffs
How is this for shock and awe? The Eastern Conference representative of the 2020 NBA Finals can miss the 2021 NBA Play-In Tournament. Add in that the Boston Celtics were the team that fell to the Miami Heat in the 2020 Eastern Conference Finals might miss the play-in tournament, and NBA fans will see arguably the two best teams in the East last year miss out on the postseason fun this season.
The Celtics and Heat currently sit at seeds six and seven respectively, and are both two and half games ahead of the eight seeded Hornets. But fans can dream of the chaos that could ensue in the remaining games of the season.
The NBA Play-In Tournament is GOOD for the Game
Due to contrary belief, I personally believe that this is great for the NBA (looking at you Mark Cuban and LeBron). Whether it is a match-up of two titans of the game, or a way to showcase some young talent, the NBA Play-In Tournament has my attention, especially with all the chaotic scenarios that can ensue.
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