Right now there's six teams in the Eastern Conference above .500. Juxtapose that with 10 teams in the Western Conference boasting the same claim and you understand why some might complain about the NBA's current playoff format.
If you're a fan whose team is currently on the outside looking in, rest assured that Commissioner Adam Silver hears your complaints. Asked about whether the top 16 teams regardless of conference should make the postseason, Silver said:
"Ultimately we want to see your best teams in the playoffs. And there is an unbalance and a certain unfairness. There is a proposal (from one of the broadcasters)… where the division winners would all automatically go into the playoffs and then you’d seed the next 10 best teams. I think that’s the kind of proposal we need to look at. There are travel issues of course, but in this day in age every team of course has their own plane, travels charter. I don’t think the discussion should end there. And as I’ve said, my first year I was studying a lot of these issues and year 2 is time to take action. It’s something I’m going to look at closely with the competition committee. I do think it’s an area where we need to make a change."
What that means is that cities like Oklahoma City and New Orleans would bump out both Miami and Charlotte during the current campaign. That is, of course, to say nothing about how seeding would be affected.
Many opponents of the idea have cited how it would potentially de-rail regional rivalries. For example, right now Houston would play Dallas in the first round, but under the (currently) hypothetical scenario they'd play Phoenix. In a few days, it could be Milwaukee. If the Knicks ever made it again, traditionalists may want them matched up against Boston (if they ever made it again) or Brooklyn (if they ever made it again) or Philadelphia (you get the point) instead of a team from the West Coast.
All that being said, all arguments in favor of the current system, whether they stem around tradition, rivalries, imbalanced schedules, or needlessly complicated travel arrangements, still need to ask themselves: Would it be worse than a system where both the Hornets (22-27) and Heat (21-28) would be in if the season ended today?
If the answer is yes, you're probably pretty pissed about this potential proposal from the commish right now.
[via NBC Sports]
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