Has the NBA finally solved the problem of tanking near the end of the season for a better chance in the NBA draft? Well, the league has definitely made the end of the season play in tournament very interesting for teams looking to get into the playoffs. Instead of closing shop for the year, teams in the top 10 in the standings will still have a chance to make the playoffs. How does the play in tournament work? Teams that finish in the standings in positions 1-6 in each conference will be guaranteed playoff spots, teams 7-10 in the standings will enter the play-in. Any team that finishes worse than No. 10 will be in the lottery. The NBA will use winning percentage to determine the standings because all teams may have not played the set number of games due to COVID. The playoff begins with:
- Game 1: The No. 7 team in the standings will host the No. 8 team, with the winner earning the No. 7 seed in the playoffs. The losing team gets another chance in Game 3.
- Game 2: The No. 9 team will host the No. 10 team, with the winner moving on to Game 3. The loser is eliminated and enters the NBA draft lottery.
- Game 3: The loser of the No. 7 vs. No. 8 matchup will host the winner of the No. 9 vs. No. 10 matchup, with the victor grabbing the No. 8 seed in the postseason. The loser of Game 3 also enters the lottery.
How does this all shake out? The teams with the seventh and eighth highest winning percentages will have two opportunities to win one game to earn a playoff spot, while the teams with the ninth and 10th highest winning percentages need to win two straight games to advance.