Freeman Cebu Sports

The play-in is here to stay and some rule changes

NBA BUZZ - Bobby Motus - The Freeman

In the previous seasons, the top 8 teams in both the Western and Eastern Conferences of the NBA advance to the postseason at the end of the 82-game regular season.  The rest of the teams take an early vacation.

Two years ago, the NBA introduced the play-in tournament with the idea of making the remaining few weeks of the regular season more interesting and likewise prevent teams from tanking.  Compared to the old playoff set-up, this new format only has the top six from each conference as automatic qualifiers. 

The number 7, 8, 9 and 10 seeds compete in the play-in.  #7 hosts #8 in a game, #9 hosts #10.  The winner of the 7 and 8 match officially becomes the 7th seed in the playoffs.  The loser in the 9 and 10 match goes home.  Loser of the 7-8 match and the winner of the 9-10 match will face off with the winner getting the 8th seed in the playoffs.  Loser, you guessed it, goes home.

As per reports from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the NBA Board of Governors are expected today to approve the play-in tournament as a permanent part of the NBA season.  Since its introduction in 2021, team owners vote on it on a year-to-year basis.

This could sit well with the fans and teams alike as it can be noted that play-ins for the past two seasons had been entertaining.  Remember Pat Beverly and the Minnesota Timberwolves whooping it up after their play-in victory over the LA Clippers as if they just won the championship?

The NBA GoB will also levy stiffer penalties on teams violating bench decorum rules.  This stems from the recent playoff and Finals run of the Dallas Mavericks where their bench players continuously stood for the duration of the games, thus getting complaints from fans for not being able to see on-court action.  There were cases where players walked onto the court while game was in progress.

The Mavericks were assessed a total of $175,000 during the playoffs for violation of league bench decorum rules.  How stiff these penalties will be is still unclear but Mark Cuban can always afford them, if ever his team continues to defy bench decorum.

Changes will also be made on the transition take-foul rule.  It’s kind of disappointing to see a team going on a fastbreak after a turnover and then the opposing team stops the play with a foul.  Teams on defense use it to stop fastbreak opportunities.  The disruption zaps the energy out of the play and slows the game.   Imagine LeBron James with a steal and on the way to a fastbreak when a defensive player fouls an off-ball player.  The strategy does stop the play but erases a potentially great highlight dunk.

According to Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes, the league’s Competition Committee had drafted a proposal on amendments to the take-foul rule.  The offensive team will be given one free throw and possession of the ball if the defensive team does the take-foul rule.  Previously, the offensive team was given the ball out of bounds.

More likely than not, these changes will be adopted by the league today.


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