By Aaron Saas
Many NBA fans over the years have complained about the playoff format as it is, and have wanted to see some change. During a recent Spurs game, new NBA commissioner Adam Silver said he'd be willing to take a look at a fresh, new playoff system that made sense.
It seems that many fans are calling for the NBA to have the top 16 teams, regardless of conference make the playoffs. I'm not too sure changing the playoff format to the best 16 would change who was favored to win the title, seed 16 would still be crushed by seed 1 in the first round. But I think people are tired of seeing teams in one conference with a record below .500 make the playoffs, while teams with records above .500 in another conference miss the postseason.
If you look at both conferences it's clear that the east is the weakest conference. Phoenix, who is not making the playoffs in the west has won 47 games this season, and would be the 5th seed in the east, jumping over Brooklyn who has won 44 games. Only two teams out west (Memphis and Dallas) have won less than 50 games, both winning 49 this season.
The western conference is up in the air as far as who will emerge as the conference champion, however the east is a two team conference, leaning towards just one team in Miami. Teams out west will no doubt have to go through a tougher battle to get to the finals than Miami or Indiana will have to.
If the playoff system were the best 16 teams it would look like this (see below).
1 - San Antonio Spurs vs. 16 – Charlotte Bobcats
2 - Oklahoma City Thunder vs. 15 – Washington Wizards
3 - Los Angeles Clippers vs. 14 – Brooklyn Nets
4 - Indiana Pacers vs. 13 – Phoenix Suns
5 - Miami Heat vs. 12 – Chicago Bulls
6 - Houston Rockets vs. 11 – Toronto Raptors
7 - Portland Trail Blazers vs. 10 – Memphis Grizzlies
8 - Golden State Warriors vs. 9 –Dallas Mavericks
Obviously the brackets would be shifted around so the number one seed wouldn't play against the number two seed in the second round, but that's just a general idea of what the matchups would look like.
We'd get more competitive playoff matchups, for example, Phoenix vs.
Indiana would be a pretty good first round matchup, as would Golden
State and Dallas. The only problem with this format is that the two best
teams could see each other before the finals. For example – San Antonio
could have a series against Miami before the NBA finals, and we could
very well see the best series of the entire playoffs before the finals.
Sometimes that's the case anyway, but it could be even more likely in
the 16 seed format.
I would definitely like to see some changes made to the current playoff system, and the 16 seed format could be a good place to start. I'm not so sure that conferences matter all that much anymore anyway other than selecting all-star teams, meaning that someone like me who lives on the west coast doesn't always root for the western conference champion to win the finals.
Another change I'd like to see made in either the current format or a new format is making not only the first round, but the second round a best of 5 series. That could make for more entertaining matchups early on, and make single game upsets mean a lot more.
The NBA playoffs are the most predictable of any of the major sports, and I think that's a problem. Shortening the length of the first two rounds and making sure the best 16 teams make the playoffs could change that.
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