Warriors' Steve Kerr Shows Support for NBA's Play-in Tournament: 'I Love It'

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVMay 14, 2021

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr reacts during the first half of his team's NBA basketball game against the Phoenix Suns in San Francisco, Tuesday, May 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

The NBA's play-in tournament may have its detractors, but Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr is not among them.

"I love it," he said, per 95.7 The Game. "The last month's been infinitely more interesting for NBA fans. It's great... If you finish 7th and you lose two straight, then you probably weren't good enough to advance in the playoffs anyway. That's just the truth."

Steve Kerr's comments stand in stark contrast to those of LeBron James.

"Whoever came up with that s--t needs to be fired," he told reporters following the Lakers' loss to the Toronto Raptors on May 2. Although even that contradicted what James said prior to the 2020 playoffs when he advocated for teams fighting for the final playoff spots to participate in a play-in tournament.

James wasn't the only critic, as Dallas Mavericks governor Mark Cuban came out against the idea when speaking to ESPN's Tim MacMahon:

"I get why the NBA is doing it. But if we are going to be creative because of COVID, we should go straight up 1-20 and let the bottom 4 play in. This is the year particularly to do it since the 10 games cut [from the normal 82-game schedule] were in conference.
"The worst part of this approach is that it doubles the stress of the compressed schedule. Rather than playing for a playoff spot and being able to rest players as the standings become clearer, teams have to approach every game as a playoff game to either get into or stay in the top six since the consequences, as Luka said, are enormous. So players are playing more games and more minutes in fewer days."

This year's play-in tournament will feature the Nos. 7-10 seeds in each conference.

The No. 7 seed will play the No. 8 seed in a one-game matchup, and the victor will assume the No. 7 spot in the traditional eight-team bracket. The loser will play the loser of the single-game matchup between the Nos. 9 and 10 seeds. Whichever team then wins that game will be the No. 8 seed.

That Kerr and James appear to disagree is notable because their teams may play each other in the No. 7 vs. No. 8 game in the Western Conference.

James' Los Angeles Lakers are currently in the No. 7 spot, while the Warriors are a half-game ahead of the Memphis Grizzlies for the No. 8 seed.