‘I Don’t Believe’: Former Lakers Champion Stands with LeBron James and Condemns Play-in Tournament

Published 05/05/2021, 11:38 PM EDT
Feb 8, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) reacts against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports


The NBA, as is the case with any other major league, keeps tweaking some rules after the passage of a few decades. These decisions mostly come with the intention of staying relevant and sustainable.

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However, with the recent addition of a play-in tournament, the league has faced friction from its top players like the Lakers’ LeBron James.

After the Lakers’ loss against the Kings, the Akron Hammer had said the person behind the play-in idea must be fired. Many analysts, including Kendrick Perkins, disagreed with Bron’s comments and fired back at him. But finally, there is someone who took a stand for King James.

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Byron Scott agreed word-to-word with Lakers’ LeBron James

Lord Byron, the three-time NBA Champion with the Lakers, came out in support of Bron. In a recent interview, the legendary shooting guard, who also played with Kobe Bryant in 1996, expressed, “I agree with him … it should be the first 8 teams just like it’s been for so many years… I don’t believe in that play-in and all that stuff.”

Now, such structural changes are always hard to digest. Remember the time when the league introduced the hand-check penalty? There always are going to be a few takers and another few who would condemn. 

But LeBron’s hate for the play-in makes sense in two different ways. One, it will force the already tired players to participate in one or two more games and that too on a knockout level.

Second, if a team sitting at #7 has five to seven extra wins over the #10 team, it can still lose the playoff berth by giving away just two games. So this boils down all the year’s effort and packs it into a matter of two odd games.

Read Also‘Disagree’: Former NBA Champion Rejects LeBron James’ Comments on the Play-in Tournament

Who came up with the play-in tournament, and why?

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver speaks onstage for Building Brands and Delighting Fans: Nurturing Talent and Creating Compelling Content in the Digital Age during day 3 of Fast Company Innovation Festival at 92nd Street Y on October 25, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images)

Most people believe that the play-in idea is a brainchild of NBA commissioner Adam Silver. However, the real name behind it is Mr. Evan Wasch, the Executive VP of Basketball Strategy & Analytics. Yes, he is the same guy who came up with the revolutionary ‘target scoring’ idea for the All-Star games. 

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Now, his stand is that the play-in format has more pros than cons. He is of the view that the tournament will keep more teams locked in, increasing the competitive incentive and helping with better viewership numbers too. 

In his own words, “We thought the benefit of the marginal incentives was worth the slightly added complexity to this format.”

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Is this format a ‘yay’ or ‘nay’ from your end? Help us know your important take on this heated discussion.

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Sourabh Singh

1258 articles

Sourabh Singh is an NBA sports analyst for EssentiallySports, who has been working with the site since May 2020. Prior to this, he functioned as Managing Editor at WittyFeed, followed by a stint at Decathlon. The Sports Management graduate leads an active lifestyle, veering to the mountains for off-trail adventures.

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