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Cuban Questions NBA Play-In Format, Suggests Different Approach

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Mavericks owner Mark Cuban raised concerns over the NBA’s upcoming play-in format this week.

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Los Angeles Lakers Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban detailed a set of concerns over the NBA’s looming postseason format earlier this week. Featured in a story from ESPN’s Tim MacMahon, Cuban expressed concerns over the play-in format’s structure that is set to unfold after a grueling condensed regular season schedule.

“The worst part of this approach is that it doubles the stress of the compressed schedule. Rather than playing for a playoff spot and being able to rest players as the standings become clearer, teams have to approach every game as a playoff game to either get into or stay in the top 6 since the consequences, as Luka said, are enormous. So players are playing more games and more minutes in fewer days.”

As an alternative, Cuban suggested a re-tooled format that would give the Western Conference a subtle boost in the context of the current NBA standings.

“I get why the NBA is doing it,” Cuban said in a series of messages to ESPN. “But if we are going to be creative because of COVID, we should go straight up 1-20 and let the bottom 4 play in. This is the year particularly to do it since the 10 games cut [from the normal 82-game schedule] were in conference.

The Mavericks current sit two wins behind the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference standings—good for the No. 7 spot. In the Eastern Conference, the Celtics currently sit in the No. 5 spot with 29 wins, the same win total as the Mavericks.

You can read the full rundown of Cuban’s comments at ESPN.