Should the NBA change their playoff format

I would think we all can say, with ease, the Western conference is by far better than the East. So much a difference, where a likely 6th seed in the West would very likely be a top 4 seed in the East, opposed to a 3rd seed in the East being a top 8 team in the West. For almost 20 years, the West has dominated the East, with 13 titles since 2000. One example to look at, is when Lebron won his title with the Cavs, in 2016 – with a potential changed format he would have had to play the Thunder, and the Spurs to win the championship. Maybe he would have still done it – but it obviously would have been much harder, than the path he had.
The season in the Western conference is a much different animal than the season the East. Playing in the West is much tougher. The teams that have been coming out of the East to the finals often have come through a conference with a sub or barely .500 team, and chances are, and getting a cakewalk vs a 40 or 41 win team to get to the Finals. Looking at it compared to Western conference playoffs and the teams, are then much fresher as a result of their schedule. It isn’t fair across the board, and less exciting to watch.
Granted, there have been dominant conferences throughout the history of the NBA. In the 80s, the Lakers dominated, and Boston dominated, then came the 90s and Chicago dominated the league. Then San Antonio had their run, now Golden State is having their run of dominance. The difference is, back in the other eras, the teams and the league was very different. Teams weren’t built overnight.
The Warriors in today’s game seems different.
If teams were seeded by record, from 1-16, rather than by conference, it could make things that much more competitive. Only the best teams would be battling for the championship. This is based with the way players jump from team to team, and the culture of the NBA today. The system worked for years, but the way it is structured now, it isn’t effective anymore. It is a obviously difficult situation to fix – because there obviously are no perfect solutions. Over the last several seasons, numerous sub-par teams have found their way into the postseason. Which just doesn’t smell right to me. The Hawks were 38-44 in 2013, and the Bucks were just 38-44 in 2012.
How does that seem right?
The top East teams get to rack up consistent wins off of less competitive teams than the their West counterparts do. Every year the West has several dominant teams, the Warriors, the Nuggets, and the Thunder this season alone – would easily be the top team in the East. And this has been going on for close to the last decade. And, if we are being honest, and facing facts how many teams really have a real shot to win it all? 3-4 teams, tops, in a 32 team league. It’s gotten so unbalanced where players are teaming up, it has brought the entire level of the league to another place, and it makes it almost impossible for other good teams. As long as players are teaming up their talents to play together…until the NBA finds a way to make sure that franchise players show more loyalty to the city that drafted them…something has to change. To me, the franchise tag works in the NFL, maybe go someway or somehow similarly. Or if a player opts to leave for another team, that player takes a pay cut. There should be something that dissuades a player that a fan-base has invested in, from jumping ship when things don’t go as planned.
I get tired of seeing weak teams that don’t deserve to be in the postseason, get in. I want to see the best teams playing for the championship. It doesn’t take a genius to see the West is better than the Eastern conference, the game today, and teams, in general, have become too unbalanced, since everyone seems to just be forming super teams. I think why not let the 2 best teams play for the championship, regardless of conference? Lets get the best 16 teams to play, it would lead to better matchups, and it would eliminate the tomato can matchup’s in their first rounds. Which would also bring more competition, rather than the same 4 teams fighting for the title every year. I don’t think it is wrong to say, I don’t think any team that is under .500 should make the playoffs. Bringing it to the top 16, would likely get rid of the 40-42 team to stumble in, and get waxed in the 1st round.
Even if the NBA keeps the conferences for scheduling purposes, so there is not as much East to West travel during the regular season, I think that taking the top 16 teams to make the playoffs would be the best option today. Which in turn would likely support winning teams to qualify for the postseason taking just the top 16 teams, brings better competition for the fans. As it is bringing the best teams. And honestly, is fair. No team ending the season 50- 32 should miss the playoffs, while a 39-43 team makes it because of their weak conference they play in.
I think a Warriors vs Rockets NBA finals would be exciting to watch. And I also was a fan of the 2-3-2 series – but that is for another rant, as that gave some serious pressure to the home team, and gave teams a real drive to defend their home-court during the series. Switching it up would give us more competition in the playoffs as most fans don’t want to see the same teams again and again playing for the title.
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.