In an interview on May 2nd, Lebron said the following about the play-in tournament. “Whoever came up with that s— needs to be fired”
The Lakers currently sit at the 7th seed, losing tiebreakers to both the Mavericks and Trail Blazers, who sit at the 5 and 6 seed. This would have the Lakers in the play-in tournament, which would be a large task for the struggling Lakers squad.
With 8 games left in the season, they play 5 teams above .500, and 3 below. If the Lakers struggle continues to this degree, they could find themselves at risk of missing out on the playoffs, a rare occurrence for a team that just won the title. However, this season is different than most. Injuries have plagued most teams, and the Lakers are no different. Staying in the playoff race without your 2 best players is a tall order, and the Lakers core was able to keep the team afloat with Lebron and Anthony Davis on the bench.
So is Lebron’s Criticism valid?
However, this does not validate Lebron’s criticism of the play-in tournament. The newly cemented tournament was not made for teams like his, rather for teams who sit near the bottom of the standings leading up to the final days of the season. The Lakers arguably got better this offseason, so for Lebron and his squad, winning one of two home games should be a rather simple task.
I understand Lebron’s point of view. He thinks the Lakers should be guaranteed a playoff spot, and for good reason. Without the unlucky injuries, the Lakers would be in the driver’s seat of the Western Conference standings, with the number one seed on lockdown. However the unlucky injuries happened, and that’s a part of basketball. I do not like to criticize players all the time. It is rarely my place to say anything. However as good as he is, the league will never be built around one player, rather the changing landscape of basketball.
But why exactly was the play in tournament created?
Without the play-in tournament, teams like the Wizards are given a final chance, despite the team being forced not to practice for 14 days. Stephan Curry and the disappointing Warriors have the chance to make the playoffs, on which the MVP award could rest. If the play in counts. we could be seeing a different MVP race come time to hand out the award. Even the Suns were included in last year’s bubble, won every game, and missed the playoffs. . This is where teams like the Warriors and Spurs get their final chances to prove themselves, and teams like the Pelicans and the Raptors get one final push to win. The play-in was created for them, not Lebron’s rest schedule.
My final note. Sorry Bron, but this isn’t your thing. Don’t tell us how unfair it is, show us how it isn’t a bother. If you want to win titles, don’t complain about the play-in tournament.