Imagine that one of the most famous athletes in the world want's to get you fired. That's what happened to Evan Wasch, Executive Vice President, Basketball Strategy & Analytics at the NBA. Evan is also one of the executives who have enabled the play-in tournament.
After being asked about the play-in tournament that the Lakers will likely have to play, LeBron James recently criticized the idea.
"Whoever came up with that s--- needs to be fired.
So, Evan got the chance to defend himself and the Association. He sat with Chris Haynes on the "Posted Up" podcast and explained that the idea of the play-in tournament was around for years, but the last year's NBA season offered a perfect time to implement it.
"I've got a lot of messages, and I was a bit confused about what was happening, and then I picked up the commentary. So there's a couple of things. One, it's not directed at me personally. I've said already that this is a concept that pre-dates my time at the NBA. I am the spokesperson for the tournament, but not the creator of the concept ", Evan said.
Evan Wasch, via Posted Up
He also explained that he was inspired by the English soccer Premier League when creating the play-in tournament. The idea is to break the traditional two-tier competition, where you have the eight playoff teams in each conference and eight out of the playoff picture. NBA execs, including Evan, wanted to make the league more competitive down the stretch and make the regular season more entertaining. However, LeBron isn't a fan of it, as he publicly stated. Considering the Lakers' health issues, LeBron doesn't want more games before the playoffs, but Wasch explains that the project is susceptible to changes.
"It's a helpful process that we have with our players and our teams that they feel that they can speak out. Of course, the 7 and 8 seeds will feel aggrieved by this format because they would be going to the playoffs prior to this. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. The format wil surely be reviewed at the end of the season, and we will continue to tweak the tournament accordingly", Wasch concluded.
Evan Wasch, via Posted Up
It seems that the play-in tournament needs some changes, firstly because the difference between the eighth and ninth seed could potentially be ten or more games. And that's the thing the NBA will try to fix in future seasons. But, as it goes for this season, the play-in tournament will stay as it is, so if the Lakers end up in the tournament, they'll have to battle it out, regardless of what LeBron thinks of it.