Former NBA Champion Lashes Out at Luka Doncic for Undermining The Logic Behind the Play-in Tournament

Published 04/14/2021, 12:30 AM EDT
Apr 12, 2021; Dallas, Texas, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) walks past center Kristaps Porzingis (white shirt) on the team bench as he leaves the game during the second half against the Philadelphia 76ers at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports


After a lot of hustle, the Dallas Mavericks are finally in the top eight teams of the Western Conference. This means that they have their playoff spot secured, right? Wrong! There is still the play-in tournament because they are currently seventh in the standings with a 29-24 record. Having just lost two games in a row, their chances of being a part of that are still pretty high, unless they magically surpass the Blazers and take over the sixth spot. While Mavericks’ superstar Luka Doncic isn’t pleased with the play-in tournament concept, former NBA Champion Kendrick Perkins has an explanation for it.

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Kendrick Perkins calls out Luka Doncic

In a recent interview, Dallas Mavericks‘ Doncic questioned the logic behind the play-in tournament concept. He stated, “You play 72 games to get into the playoffs, then maybe you lose two in a row and you’re out of the playoffs. I don’t see the point of that.”

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While Luka’s words may make sense to some, Perkins was furious with Doncic for thinking this way. He explained the purpose of a play-in in detail and said, “If Luka is going to do all this crying and whining, what are the babies in the world going to do? I don’t want to hear all that complaining. The play-in tournament is a great thing that the NBA added because you know why? In the past, teams have taken the regular season for granted. Now, if you don’t want to be in the play-in tournament, win games… Finish in those top six seeds.”

Apr 12, 2021; Dallas, Texas, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard JJ Redick (17) talks with guard Luka Doncic (77) during the second half at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Perkins also reiterated that we’ve all seen games becoming boring towards the end of the regular season, but this ensures that that doesn’t happen. It keeps players on their toes and gives more flavor to the game. Perkins concluding by saying, “So if you don’t want to be in the play-in tournament, handle your business and finish in the top six seeds.”

How does the play-in tournament work? And why is it receiving criticism?

Just like last season, the league voted for the play-in tournament to take place this season as well. However, it has recently come under the radar for plenty of criticism. The concept is quite straightforward and gives a second shot to teams that don’t land in the top eight.

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The way it works is that the teams on the seventh and eighth spot first play each other to seal the seventh seed. The winner gets a ticket to the postseason, while the loser has to still fight to stay at the eighth spot. How does that happen? The teams that are ninth and tenth battle each other, and their winner plays the loser of the previous matchup. Whoever secures that wins gets the last and final spot.

The reason for its criticism is clear; teams shouldn’t have to fight again to keep the spot they already landed after the regular season ended. Do you think what Perkins’ said is more valid, or does Luka’s opinion make more sense?

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Read also- ‘All About Luka Doncic’: Dirk Nowitzki Describes Experience of Playing With Just One Franchise

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Yashima Bhatia

1329 articles

Yashima Bhatia is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports who specialises in providing nuanced predictions and updates for matches. She has a Bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. Yashima's love for playing the game came up at a young age, when the excitement of the games coupled with the intensity of the Playoffs had her hooked.

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