Los Angeles Lakers had to go through the play-in tournament this past season to get to the playoffs, after they fell off to the seventh seed during the regular season.
The NBA introduced the play-in tournament during the 2020 Orlando bubble, which made the eighth, ninth and 10th seeds in the Western Conference face off for the last spot in the playoffs.
The Lakers’ owner Jeannie Buss expressed her objection to the play-in format, and claimed why she doesn’t like it in an interview with Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic.
“I obviously see the excitement of it. If we would have lost two games, we wouldn’t have been in the playoffs at all. And that’s, that’s a tough pill to swallow. When you’ve been in the top eight for the entire season,” the Lakers’ governor said.
“You never dropped out of the playoff position. But yet, you know, you can lose two games, and that’s what happened to Golden State, they were at the eighth spot, and then they ended up losing to us and then to Memphis and they didn’t make it in the playoffs.
I could see where it’s kind of fun for one game, but I don’t want to diminish what happens in the regular season.They like to say that it combats tanking and I think tanking would be best served by losing draft picks, something that hurts the basketball department as opposed to a financial punishment, right?
Because the general manager’s job is based on wins and losses. The general manager’s job isn’t based on how many season tickets you sell, or how many sponsors,” Buss said.
The Lakers were able to survive the play-in tournament by taking the seventh seed, after winning the Golden State Warriors by three points, thanks to a game-winning by LeBron James.