As many of you know, there is a rumor floating around the NBA that Adam Silver put out about a possible change to the NBA playoff format. Currently, the format stands as the top 8 teams from the East and West face one another. The winner out of each conference plays for the Larry O’ Brien trophy in the NBA Finals. This has been the format for years.
No one has even thought about changing it, but as you can tell the league wants to mix things up. This past summer, the NBA changed the draft format where “tanking” could be eliminated. A team can no longer receive a top 3 pick in back-to-back years, which is a good thing because teams will have a chance to grow and get a fair chance. You also saw the NBA change the All-Star Game format to make it more competitive. This is what the NBA is thinking when it comes to the playoff format. The Cavaliers and the team out in the Bay area have faced each other three straight years in a row and just run through each conference. It is good for basketball, but there are reasons why this change is needed.
We will start with why the new format is a positive for basketball. When you look at each conference, the West has better teams all together. In recent years, teams over .500 cannot make the playoffs while in the East, teams under .500 scrape their way into the playoffs and get annihilated by the top four seeds. C.J McCollum said it best on Twitter: “Western Conference game gonna be like Game of Thrones battles against the White Walkers.”
The biggest positive about this format is that it does not matter what conference you are in, if you have a record that is top 16 in the league, you are in the playoffs.This format reminds me of March Madness, except you have a seven game series. Some opponents might not play during the season while other teams might know the inside and outs of a particular team.
It is good for basketball because it gives everyone a chance to win as many games as possible and face different teams. It creates fun matchups and matchups you might not see during the season. I am all for the change to the format because it makes basketball exciting from April to June. It makes it more difficult to choose who will make the Finals. Some matchups that would you could get the Cavaliers and Warriors in the second round. As Kevin Garnett would say, “Anything is possible.”
I think the big thing the NBA is focusing their attention on is the resting of players. This is a positive because games will matter more during the seasons because you could have four teams within one game of one another. It could mean your team has home court as a 6 seed or a you could start a series out on the road as a 10 seed. The NBA put an emphasis on resting players in the offseason. The NBA is changing the game for the better. It wants to make it interesting again.
The only negative I could see toward this possible playoff format would be traveling. You could have the Cavaliers play the Blazers in the first round. The time travel would accumulate quickly for both teams. The next round the Cavaliers could see the Warriors. It doesn’t matter what teams play each other but a thing the NBA will need to look at is how to spread these games out because it is a lot of traveling in a short amount of time. You want to keep everyone fresh because you want to put the best product on the floor. A possible solution could make the first round five games like it was in the past and move everyone to the next series.
This format would be awesome to see within the next couple of seasons because there are many matchups the NBA can market and spin in their favor. You want to see teams be competitive and not get blown out. Everyone saw it last year because we knew last September that Cleveland and Golden State were on a collision course to meet in the Finals for a third consecutive year this past June. The NBA makes everyone earn their seed.
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