LA Clippers: Doc Rivers suggests play-in tournament for NBA Playoffs

LA Clippers Doc Rivers (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
LA Clippers Doc Rivers (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

LA Clippers head coach Doc Rivers thinks the NBA should consider a play-in tournament for the final two playoff spots in each conference.

The LA Clippers sit comfortably in second place in the NBA’s Western Conference as the league waits to end the hiatus and resume action for the 2019-20 season. Representatives for the league have said they hope to be able to complete a full, 82-game schedule but are open to other scenarios depending on how long the shut-down lasts.

Doc Rivers recently suggested that the league should consider a shortened period of action before the playoffs begin, featuring a play-in tournament for the final two playoff spots in each conference.

The Clippers’ head coach told Cedric Maxwell’s CLNS podcast that he prefers a scenario in which the seven through ten seeds in each conference battle it out for the right to play the top two seeds. While this pre-playoff tournament is happening, the one through six seeds would have time to practice and prepare for the first round of playoff action.

In the Western Conference, this would have the Dallas Mavericks face off against the New Orleans Pelicans in the seven vs. ten matchup and the Memphis Grizzlies take on the Portland Trailblazers in the eight vs. nine battle. Given those matchups, the Clippers could potentially face the Mavericks if they took care of business against New Orleans, or the winner of Grizzlies vs. Blazers matchup if Zion Williamson and the Pelicans pull off the upset.

The Clippers should have no problem in first round matchups against any of those potential opponents, although the Blazers pair of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum are always a handful come playoff time. The Clippers handled their business in the teams’ previous two meetings this season, with their third scheduled matchup postponed.

Los Angeles is 2-1 against Grizzlies this season and hold the same 2-1 record against their most likely matchup, the Dallas Mavericks.

Dallas offers their own one-two punch of star talent in the pair of Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis. Doncic has emerged as an MVP-contender in his second season in the NBA while Porzingis has bounced back nicely from his 2018 ACL injury in the forward’s first season with the Mavericks.

In addition to their top two stars, the Mavericks feature a pair of sharpshooters in Tim Hardaway Jr. and Seth Curry. The Clippers perimeter defense has been able to disrupt the Mavericks shooting in their previous matchups this season, as we explored when we looked at potential first-round playoff scenarios previously.

One potential danger for the Clippers and the other top seeds in this scenario would be allowing the bottom seeded teams to get in-game action under their belts while the top seeds are only practicing. It could potentially let them knock off some of the hiatus rust in a playoff-atmosphere that could give them a mental edge once the playoffs begin.

The Clippers shouldn’t have too much to worry about, as they are a deep, veteran team who should be able to handle the pressure if they have to jump right into playoff action.

Next. LA Clippers: Potential matchups for new-look NBA playoffs. dark

In this scenario, the Eastern Conference play-in tournament would feature the Brooklyn Nets vs. the Charlotte Hornets and the Orlando Magic taking on the Washington Wizards to earn the right to play the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors.