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LeBron James' criticism of the NBA play-in tournament is precisely why it's great

It is anything but a coincidence that the strongest criticism of the NBA's new play-in tournament has come from the stars of two Western Conference contenders who feel threatened by it.

"Whoever came up with that s*** needs to be fired," LeBron James said Sunday.

"I don’t see the point," Luka Doncic said last month.

And on the surface, Doncic's reasoning made sense. "You play 72 games to get into the playoffs, then maybe you lose two in a row and you’re out," he said, touching on a problem that the NBA often refuses to reckon with: the playoffs render most regular-season games moot, and render the March-April stretch run undramatic.