Is anyone else sick of seeing the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers go head-to-head in the NBA Finals year after year? Do you yearn to see perhaps the Houston Rockets, Boston Celtics or Toronto Raptors playing for the Larry O’Brien trophy in June? Well, this proposed change could make those dreams a reality.
There’s been a lot of hate thrown towards the way the NBA playoffs are organized as of late, with many fans sick of seeing mediocre Eastern Conference teams — we’re watching you Detroit and Charlotte — make the playoffs, while far better Western Conference teams are missing the postseason with much better records than playoff teams in the East due to the way seeding works.
Well, NBA commissioner Adam Silver may have just hinted at a major change that is being discussed that would shake up the playoff race for both conferences.
Silver was asked about his thoughts on having the 16 best teams — based on record — in the NBA compete in the playoffs, doing away with the conferences and their top 8 seeding. Here’s his response:
Silver on if the NBA should just put the 16 best teams in the playoffs and not deal with conferences: "That is something that's gotten serious attention." Of course, there are travel concerns
— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) February 18, 2018
According to Silver, this is an idea that has already been thrown around in the league office and is being taken seriously as a proposal that could eventually see the light of day.
Obviously, there are a few major roadblocks when it comes to a major change like this.
First of all, travel between playoff matchups would be a pretty serious concern. Imagine if the Philadelphia 76ers and Golden State Warriors matched up in the first round. Having to fly coast-to-coast at least once if it’s a sweep, and a maximum of four times in a seven-game series would definitely be a hindrance to teams.
Also, would the majority of NBA owners even sign off on this? Due to how imbalanced the two conferences have been in the past, many fringe playoff teams in the East would have never made the postseason with this new format. Would the owners of those teams — who reap the benefits of added revenue from playoff crowds plus merch sales — want the format to change so they can miss the playoffs? I don’t think so.
Whatever the case, the proposed change definitely has some kinks that need to be ironed out before it can be put into practice, but purely from a fan standpoint, it would definitely lead to much more exciting basketball in the playoffs the entire way through from the first round to the Finals.