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NBA Play-In Paves Way For Knockout Cup Tournament

The NBA hasn’t given up on the idea of adding a single-round elimination tournament to the calendar, according to ESPN.

The tournament would echo the European soccer model, where knockout tournaments are played as well as league games. In the U.K, there are actually two domestic knockout tournaments as well as the Premier League and Champions League.

However, such formats are foreign to a U.S audience. Such an idea would likely be met with resistance by NBA players.

However, the success of the NBA’s new Play-In tournament in determining playoff seeds provides encouragement.


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Before the Play-In tournament, several high profile players voiced their displeasure over the idea. It’s an extra game in an already packed schedule. As well as that, players didn’t agree with the idea that you could play all season long and potentially lose out on the postseason with one defeat.

However, it has been a success. The format provided exciting scenarios and great matchups, like the Lakers VS the Warriors. Additionally, it was an antidote to the tanking that occurs in the season’s final month among teams who can’t make the playoffs. 


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LeBron James was one of the biggest critics of the NBA Play-In format. However, players like him are competitors at heart. Give them a game to play, an opponent to best, a prize to win, and they will want it. If there was another major honour to be won in the form of a knockout tournament, players will want to win it.

“You guys asked me a few days ago how I felt. I said I’m ready to go,” James said about the play-in format. “May the chips lay where they may. I showed up, and we showed up. And we were ready to play.”

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