Mark Cuban’s play-in tournament idea could hurt the Cleveland Cavaliers

Cleveland Cavaliers Darius Garland (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers Darius Garland (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

Mark Cuban pitched an idea that if put into effect would make the Cleveland Cavaliers a team on the cusp of a playoff birth, as long as they can get in.

Mark Cuban has a plan and the Cleveland Cavaliers could be a post-season team Cuban’s idea comes to fruition. Cuban has pitched an idea where each team in the NBA comes back this summer and plays out five to seven regular-season games. Sounds doable, right? This is where things get a bit wonky.

The top ten teams from each conference would be the playoff teams, but instead of keeping it in the conference, the teams would be reseeded by a team’s record. The two-game opening round would see the 17th seed would take on the 20th seed and the 18th seed and the 19th seed. Then the winners of those two opening-round matchups would play the 15th and 16th team respectively in the next round. The last two teams standing from those opening rounds would be the respective last two teams in the 16 team playoff.

It’s needlessly convoluted, considering you could skip all that nonsense, keep things to the Eastern and Western conference like always, and just do a league-wide playoff instead. That way there’s no need to do any regular-season games and any team that could’ve gotten into the playoff is now in the playoffs. All you’d have to do is give a first-round bye to the top team in the Eastern and Western conference. The opening round would be three games, the round of 16 and eight would be five games, and then the conference finals and NBA finals would be seven games apiece.

This isn’t the first time you’ve read that scenario on this website. It sure beats having to add two pointless rounds and excluding ten teams. The draft wouldn’t even be hard to figure out under our scenario. Every team that gets bounced in the first round is the lottery teams, with their regular-season record dictating where in that first batch of picks the team goes. If the Cavs and Clippers are both knocked out in round one, The Cavs go near the top of the draft board, and the Clippers go near the back of the lottery. Every team knocked out in the first round will be considered a ‘lottery’ team despite their record.

It’s simple, it’s fair, it’s logical. That’s not to say that either idea is good for the Cavaliers rebuilding process, however.

Cuban’s idea is bad and it hurts specific teams and their rebuilds.

When you look at the Cavs, let’s say they win seven in a row to get the 20th seed. How does that help the team in the long run? They would then be out of the lottery and would have to play in an additional two rounds to just get to the regular playoffs. That’s entirely stupid. The deck would be stacked against the 17-20 seeds, and the 15 and 16 seeds wouldn’t be much better off.

Then what? The Cavs are now ou of the lottery? That would mean the Cavs lose their first-round draft pick then, as it’s only a top-10 protected pick. Otherwise, it goes to the New Orleans Pelicans. The team goes from a potential franchise-changing star in Obi Toppin or LeMelo Ball to watching the Pelicans get richer.

Sure, Cuban. Sounds fair.

Kudos to him for trying but the facts are that you’re aiming for the least-terrible idea and this ain’t it. Jumping to the start of the playoffs is; like the NHL is doing. Expedite the regular and either just go into the traditional playoff format or do a league-wide playoff where every team is involved.

Who cares if it “throws away the value of the whole season”, as Cuban theorized. The regular season has already lost its value. No need to continue the charade for this season.

Trying to do it the way Cuban suggested does no one, least of all the Cavs, any favors.

Despite a few misses on their site, ESPN got the Cavs all-time starting 5 right. dark. Next