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#pounditSaturday, April 10, 2021

Trail Blazers were only team to vote against NBA’s 22-team format

Portland Trail Blazers

The NBA’s Board of Governors on Thursday approved a plan to have 22 teams finish the 2019-20 regular season, and the proposal was one vote shy of having unanimous approval. The Portland Trail Blazers were the only team that voted “no.”

While there were likely other teams that disagreed with the 22-team format, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports that the Blazers were the only organization to do so openly.

The Blazers knew the proposal was going to be approved, so it seems like they were trying to make a point. So what point was that? ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Blazers want to resume the season but thought there were “more competitive and innovative formats” that would have been better.

Portland may also be unhappy that the NBA is not seeding playoff teams 1-16, which is one of the ideas that was floated. Instead, the top 22 teams in the league will be included in the resumption of the season, but there will still be eight playoff teams from each conference. Because the Western Conference has been more competitive than the Eastern Conference this year, 13 of the top 22 teams in the NBA are in the West. Only nine are in the East.

The NBA is holding eight more regular season games, and there will be a play-in tournament for the eighth seed in each conference if the ninth-place team is within four games of the eighth-place team at the end of the regular season. That means nine teams are fighting for eight spots in the East, while 13 teams are fighting for eight spots in the West. The Blazers are currently the No. 9 seed in the West and are 3.5 games behind the No. 8 seed Memphis Grizzlies.

Had the NBA thrown out conferences altogether, two different play-in tournaments could have been held for the 15th and 16th seeds in the postseason. Portland probably would have preferred that.

Not surprisingly, it was a Blazers star who said he would refuse to take part in the resumption of the season if his team did not have a legitimate shot at making the postseason. Portland definitely has a chance, but they don’t seem happy with the format.


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