There is a lot of whining and pissing and moaning on the part of multi-millionaire basketball stars about the new system of determining who gets to enter the playoffs. One of the biggest whiners about this entire situation comes from they guy who just can't keep his mouth shut lately: LeBron James
Before we get to King James' complaint I want to explain what the "play-in" system actually entails. Traditionally, the top 8 seeds automatically went to the playoffs but it has been changed so now the number 7 and 8 seeds will play an additional game against one another outside of the regular season, the same happens for the number 9 and 10 seeds. The winner of the 7/8 game advances to the playoffs as the number 7 seed. The loser of the 7/8 game will play the winner of the 9/10 seed and whoever wins that game continues on as the number 8 seed in the playoffs.
This is all a rather moot point because it is extremely rare that the 7th or the 8th seed make it very far in the playoffs since they have to play much higher ranked teams in the first round.
The reasoning behind it is because in the past when certain teams have "locked in" a 7 or 8 seed and it is mathematically impossible for them to not make the playoffs, these teams tend to not really even try to win in the rest of the regular season. Now, they can be eliminated if they don't make it to the top 6. No one is safe from elimination below that line.
If you are a visual learner, this chart might explain it better than my words do.
Now a lot of the players have been moaning about the fact that they have to play up to an additional 2 games in order to make the playoffs, where they are normally eliminated in the first round at a rate of over 90%.
I love basketball, but it really gets under my skin when people who make millions upon millions of dollars a year to play a sport try to claim they are being treated improperly. They truly live in their own world.
For the fans, this will make the end of the regular season far more exciting as these "tournaments to make the tournament" games could actually be a lot more exciting than the actual tournament since so much is on the line. In the past, the last 4 or 5 games of the regular season have been some of the most boring since the teams are already aware of where they stand in the rankings and their slot is normally already locked in.
I like it, and the fact that it pisses off some big names like LeBron actually makes it more appealing.
Lebron had this to say:
‘Whoever came up with that shit needs to be fired’
Eloquent as always, LeBron's continues to show near disdain for the fans of the sport as it seems as though he is actively trying to get people to not tune in to the very thing that pays his $40 million a year paycheck.
One of the main reasons that James has such a problem with this entire thing is because the Lakers are doing a little less than awesome as the regular season winds to a close. The Lakers currently find themselves in a 3-way tie for the 5/6/7 seed in the west at the moment, and if they don't get their act together, they could find themselves in the play-in games.
Prior to the Lakers' very real possibility of being included in these games, LeBron didn't have anything to say about them. Funny how that works huh?
Personally, I really like the play-in system and I hope they make it a permanent part of the league. We all know what LeBron thinks. What do you think?