With so much up in the air right now, Trail Blazers All-Star point guard is all for experimenting if the NBA is able to resume its 2019-20 season.
Even an NCAA single-elimination tournament??
This past December, reports surfaced that “play-in tournaments” to decide the final two playoff teams in both the Western and Eastern Conference was an idea that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver was tossing around.
Earlier in the season, the NBA sent out a proposal to teams for a possible 78-game regular season, along with an in-season tournament for all teams, plus, a possible play-in tournament and more.
And that was well before anyone knew the league would be on a hiatus due to a global pandemic.
The Trail Blazers held a video press conference Tuesday afternoon, where Lillard explored the idea of a play-in tournament.
When the season does come back, I feel like it’s only right that teams get a chance to make a playoff push, like ourselves, give us a chance to get in. Or, some type of tournament style where it’s fair… It’s obviously gonna be a different situation than it has ever been, so maybe they should do something that has never been done. Or something that is going to make this year very unique like it already has been. – Trail Blazers All-Star point guard Damian Lillard
Lillard also mentioned he hasn’t heard anything about when or if the NBA is going to restart, but he added, “It’s kind of starting to feel like postseason, like the season is over. So, we’ll see.”
The proposed ‘play-in tournament’ from the NBA back in December called for the regular season to end on a Saturday, exactly one week before the start of the playoffs; as opposed to ending it on Wednesday which has been the case for years.
The top six teams in each conference would be secured to make the playoffs, while teams in the seventh through 10th spots would play against each other like so:
The No. 7 and No. 8 teams would play and then that winner would clinch the No. 7 playoff seed. The teams holding the ninth and 10th-place spots would also play. The winner of that game would play the loser of the No. 7 and No. 8 game to determine the No. 8 playoff seed.
From there, the first two rounds of the playoffs would be played as usual.
Lillard is all for some type of play-in tournament for this season, because, as we all know, he wants to make sure his team has a shot at making the playoffs.
But, he is also not opposed to experimenting even more than just a play-in tourney.
“They should do something like the NCAA tournament with every team. Single-game elimination, all the way up until maybe the Conference Finals or something like that, and then it's a three-game series, just so we don’t got to start the season off track next year,” Lillard said.
The five-time All-Star truly believes the time to really experiment is now.
“They could get creative. If there was any time for them to get super creative and people will be tuned in and excited about it with everything that’s going on, I think this is the time.”