The Changing Meaning of Being ‘Like Mike’

Stein: The N.B.A., as you famous, has stated that statistics from play-in video games fall into their very own class. In a span of about 40 days, Tatum had two 50-point video games within the common season after which a 50-point recreation in play-in competitors. But once we speak about his profession complete, it stays two 50-point video games.

On Tatum’s profile page, there’s a play-in tab with stats from his 50-point recreation. Perhaps it isn’t as simple to search out correctly, however a deeper dialogue about the way to extra prominently memorialize statistics from play-in video games is certain to comply with if N.B.A. groups, as anticipated, vote for the idea to stay round. The play-in event for the seventh and eighth seeds, keep in mind, was added this season on a trial foundation after a modified play-in for less than the eighth seed was used throughout final season’s restart within the Walt Disney World bubble.

I’ve stated repeatedly that I’m a big fan of the concept as a result of it makes the common season extra significant, will increase the worth of ending within the high six in every convention and lessens the inducement for groups to tank if they begin the season slowly. Some league and tv community officers are certain to rue the elimination of the favored Golden State Warriors and the much more well-liked Stephen Curry on this season’s play-in spherical, when Golden State had a document that will have secured the West’s eighth seed in a traditional season. Yet it will be an enormous mistake to concentrate on how the idea affected one crew or one famous person when it gave the common season a wanted increase.

The N.B.A. play-in will most likely by no means work in addition to it does within the school enviornment, the place the U.C.L.A. males’s basketball crew used a play-in victory over Michigan State because the springboard for a run to the Final Four of the N.C.A.A. event. In the professionals, play-in winners proceed to a best-of-seven collection within the first spherical. The No. 8 Washington Wizards within the East have a lot work to do to upset top-seeded Philadelphia, as do the eighth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies within the West towards top-seeded Utah. But the pluses of the play-in far outweigh the minuses after a number of years during which the regular-season schedule, partly by the rising emphasis on preventive relaxation, has been steadily devalued.

Q: I perceive that the Most Valuable Player Award relies on the common season, nevertheless it appears foolish to not account for the playoffs. Why don’t any of the person awards issue into the postseason? Wouldn’t doing so assist deliver much more readability to every race and cut back the emphasis on statistical hairsplitting? — Aaron Slosberg (Santa Cruz, Calif.)

Stein: Basing award voting on what occurs within the common season opens the sector to gamers from all 30 groups. If playoff outcomes had been factored in, we’d virtually actually see M.V.P.s solely from championship groups, and it will sharply slim the opposite races.

Along with incorporating the play-in event, tying awards to regular-season efficiency provides that means and worth to the 82-game schedule, which is a continuing fear for the league workplace. The N.B.A.’s lengthy season and the rise in recent times of “load management” relaxation for stars have league officers brainstorming for methods to extend fan engagement.

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