Mavs star Luka Doncic: 'I don't understand the idea of a play-in'

The NBA expanded its playoff play-in concept for this season following the popular and successful intro inside the bubble at Walt Disney World last summer.

At least one player in the league, however, isn’t happy about it.

“I don’t understand the idea of a play-in,” Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic said Monday night, via ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. “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.”

Dallas tracking for play-in spot

Part of Doncic’s criticism of the play-in concept could be explained simply by looking at where the Mavericks are in the NBA standings.

If the season were to end today, Dallas would finish in seventh in the Western Conference and be part of the play-in. The Mavericks currently trail the Portland Trail Blazers by two games for the sixth spot, and are another game and a half out of fifth place.

Once the season ends, the seventh and eighth place teams in each conference will square off for the seventh playoff spot. The loser of that game will then take on the winner of a game between the ninth and 10th place teams for the final playoff spot.

The concept adds a level of excitement into the NBA postseason that it hasn’t seen before, and mirrors that of the NCAA tournament — though at a much smaller scale.

Yet Doncic, after their 113-95 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night, thinks that could leave a seventh place team at an unfair advantage.

Regardless, he knows there’s only one way to avoid it: Win.

“We’re just trying to get to the sixth spot,” Doncic said, via ESPN. “I think that’s our goal right now. Maybe even [higher] than the sixth spot.”

Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks
Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks takes the court against the Philadelphia 76ers on April 12, 2021 in Dallas, Texas. (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

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