Charles Barkley is not the best dude to help explain how the NBA’s new play-in structure works, which is exactly why TNT’s Inside the NBA producers on Thursday asked the Round Mound of Rebound to explain how the NBA’s new play-in structure works.
There were many levels to this two minutes of confusion.
For one, Barkley gets out of his chair to stand next to the physical graphic board despite having a laser-pointer. He then attempts to use both his off-hand and the laser pointer to highlight which part of the board he’s talking about — but ends up pointing at different things. Co-host Kenny Smith chastises him for this.
Barkley uses most of his time to explain that the Nos. 9 and 10 seeds are “top losers.”
The Nos. 7 and 8 seeds, he adds, are “baby losers.”
Barkley then goes to the other side of the board to explain with more word-salad the exact same scenario.
“I have a feeling it’s going to be the same thing on the other side, only in red,” Ernie Johnson predicts correctly.
What do we learn? The “top losers” play each other.
Barkley does not do well explaining that the winner must win another game against the loser of the seven- and eight-seed showdown to make the postseason.
Barkley also doesn’t explain that the seventh and eighth seeds have a little more room for error.
The winner of the matchup between seventh and eighth seeds takes the No. 7 seed and is done in the play-in tournament. The loser of that 7-8 matchup will play the winner of the No. 9 and No. 10 seed game. The winner of that third play-in game gets into the playoffs as the eighth seed for each conference.
“You know what this sounds like, Chuck? The first time someone explained crypto-coin to me,” Smith said. “They didn’t know what they were talking about.”