NBA Commissioner Adam Silver liked the effects of the Play-In Tournament, pitting the 7th- 10th-place finishers in each conference against each other to earn seeds in the 2021 NBA Playoffs. According to an article by Tim Bontemps of ESPN, citing a radio interview with Silver earlier in the day, the Commissioner wants the tournament to return.
“I haven’t made any secret that I want it to be [around long term],” Silver told Keyshawn, J-Will and Zubin on ESPN Radio. “I have two constituencies I need to convince of that. One is the 30 teams, and I think for the most part they’ve supported it. Again, I understand the sentiment if I were a team — a 7-seed in particular — the notion [that] after a long season, you could potentially play out of the playoffs. I understand those feelings. I think at the same time, the teams recognize the amount of additional interest we’ve created over the last month of the season plus those play-in games make it worth it.
Silver cited concerns among players and the Players’ Union as reasons for thought and discussion around the issue, but ultimately he felt the tournament made a positive impact.
Beyond the individual ratings, and some games have been pretty good and some haven’t been as close, but putting aside those games and adding those games to our schedule and the amount of interest in them is where I think the play-in tournament had an impact. [It] was causing teams who frankly otherwise may have thrown in the towel some number of weeks back to fight for those last playoff spots.
The Bontemps article also quoted Silver on returning to an 82-game schedule and allowing fans to watch games in-person during the playoffs.