The NBA decided to change its playoff format last year due to the COVID-19 shortened season, establishing a play-in tournament that could allow a 9th or even 10th seed to make the playoffs.
While that could bring a lot of excitement to the table if we were talking about multiple teams above .500 trying to make the playoffs, that also leaves the door wide-open for underperforming teams to reach the postseason after winning just a couple of games.
That's why Dallas Mavericks superstar isn't exactly fond of this idea, and openly criticized him during a zoom media session:
“I don’t understand the idea of a play-in. You play 72 games to get into the playoffs, then maybe you lose two in a row and you’re out of the playoffs. So I don’t see the point of that," Doncic said, according to ESPN's Tim McMahon.
Doncic added that the Mavericks will try to control their destiny by clinching the sixth spot in the Western Conference, thus avoiding that undesirable play-in scenario:
“We’re just trying to get to the sixth spot. I think that’s our goal right now. Maybe even [higher] than the sixth spot," Doncic concluded.
Right now, the Mavericks hold a 29-24 record and have the 7th-best record in the West, trailing the Portland Trail Blazers by a couple of games. Should the season end today, they'd have to beat the Memphis Grizzlies to secure the 7th seed and a playoff spot.
But if they lose, they'd have to meet vs. the winner of the play-in between the 9th and 10th teams in the West (currently the San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors, respectively) to try and clinch that final postseason ticket.