NBA superstar LeBron James has been pretty vocal about his criticism against the play-in tournament. Earlier this year, when asked about the new post-season format, James said,
"Whoever came up with that s--- needs to be fired,"
The LA Lakers failed to defend their crown and were eliminated in the first round of the 2021 playoffs. James had suffered a high-ankle injury before the playoffs that kept him out for 27 games, the highest in his career.
The 4x NBA champion averaged 23.3 points, 8.0 assists, and 7.2 rebounds in the six games before being ousted by the Phoenix Suns. The 4x Finals MVP didn't look his best during the post-season as he continued to cope with his injury.
As per a report in TMZ,
when we spoke with Commish out in NYC this week … he told us he personally spoke with King James about the tourney — and it sounds like things are allllll good.
“We talked about it,” Silver told us. “I think at the end of the day, I understand. Especially if you went deep last year and you have that end, you have that many sort of games on your legs.”
“You’re not looking forward to more games. But, I think he understands the context of the league.”
“So, I think we wanted to get one more season under our belt that wasn’t a pandemic season, so we could really get a sense of how it works.”
“But, I’m more open to tinkering with it if necessary.”
Amongst others to voice their displeasure over the new addition to the postseason were Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic and team owner Mark Cuban.
However, the play-in tournament was welcomed by fans across the globe.
The 2020-21 NBA season was one of a kind, with a shortened schedule of 72 games followed by the COVID19 health and safety protocols.
An umpteen no of players sat out either due to injury or violating the league's health protocols. Thus making it very difficult for the league to function efficiently.
Nevertheless, the play-in tournament was added to give the teams between the 8th and 10th seed a golden opportunity to make it to the playoffs.
For several years we have witnessed teams not taking the regular season seriously, which included resting players termed as load management. Thus the play-in tournament served as a notice to several organizations and players in the league.