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View Full Version : An idea for NBA playoff format



TylerSL
03-21-2018, 12:36 AM
Many people are campaigning to change the 1-8 conference format to 1-16 format where the 16 best teams in the league get in. That would be an absolute massive change as we could potentially have 9 teams from the West and 7 from the East. It would be possible to have two Western Conference teams face each other in the Finals. It would essentially end the two conference format as we know it. Adam Silver recently came out and said the league wasn't ready to commit to that yet. (http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2764870-adam-silver-says-nba-not-ready-for-1-16-playoff-seeding)

Even by electing to keep the 1-8 conference format, the league still has issues. The first round series are usually not competitive. This year they may be more so, we have yet to see, but there are very rarely upsets in the first round. So an idea I have thought of would be to eliminate the first round as we know it. Rather than having a "Best-of-seven Conference Quarterfinals", we could break the 16 teams into four 4-team groups. We would still have eight teams from each conference make the playoffs, but the first round of the NBA playoffs would become the "Conference Group Stage". Each team in a group would play each other four times each (2 at home, 2 on the road), effectively making each team play 12 games in the group stage. The top two teams record wise in each group will advance to the conference semifinals. If two teams in a group were tied for the second spot, they would play a tie-breaking game with the higher seed playing at home.

As to how to determine who gets in each group, that could be determined by seeding. The highest seed should be placed in the same group as the lowest seed. Current NBA playoff format has #1 vs #8, #4 vs #5, #3 vs #6, and #2 vs #7. So I would make Conference Group A the #1, #4, #5, and #8 seeds while Conference Group B would be #2, #3, #6, and #7.

If the season ended today, this would be the playoff format;

Eastern Conference Group A
Raptors
Pacers
Wizards
Bucks

Eastern Conference Group B
Celtics
Cavaliers
76ers
Heat

Western Conference Group A
Rockets
Thunder
Pelicans
Jazz

Western Conference Group B
Warriors
Trail Blazers
Spurs
Timberwolves

With each team playing a guaranteed 12 playoffs games, and everything past the group stage being a best-of-seven series, you would have more playoff games (you're welcome NBA owners!). You would likely have to reduce the regular season to compensate for that (you're welcome NBA players!). If you reduce the regular season to even 74 games you could end the season by the end of March. The league could play a 74-game regular season October-March, the group stages would be played out in April, and the Conference Semifinals though the NBA Finals could be played in May and June.

This isn't the 1-16 format that many people like, but it upholds the conferences (which it seems like the league wants to do), makes for a more interesting first round, and more playoff games would help convince the owners to agree to cut the regular season down. I'm not saying I believe the NBA should make a change immediately, but I think this would be better than what we currently have.

Thoughts?

Vinylman
03-21-2018, 09:11 AM
as a soccer fan I like it but I don't think it works for the NBA...

I have said all along that the NBA just needs a slight change to their format

round 1 stays the same

round 2 E/W eliminated and reseeding begins

round 3 reseeding again

NYKalltheway
03-21-2018, 05:43 PM
First round needs to go back to Best of 5.

warfelg
03-21-2018, 05:59 PM
First round needs to go back to Best of 5.

This. And how about just getting reseeding within conference first.

Vinylman
03-22-2018, 07:47 AM
This. And how about just getting reseeding within conference first.

that would be a good start but doesn't really address the imbalance between conferences...

I am big on baby steps though

any change would be welcomed

warfelg
03-22-2018, 08:10 AM
that would be a good start but doesn't really address the imbalance between conferences...

I am big on baby steps though

any change would be welcomed

And doing away with the imbalance would mean you need a fully balance NBA schedule. That's not going to happen.

But again, if you went to a straight 16 best based on record right now, you would have 9 west teams, 7 east teams. The distance between the last west team in and first west team out is .5 games. Do the same for the east and it's 1.5 games.

Difference from the 17 seed (LAC), the first west team out, and the next team in the west's rankings is 6.5 games. The difference between the 18 seed (MIL), the first east team out, and the next team in the east's rankings is 5 games.

Both conferences have it's drudges. The difference is in the "meat" of the conference. You could say the west 'meat' is 8 teams deep, and the east's is 6 deep.

IndyRealist
03-22-2018, 08:31 AM
First round needs to go back to Best of 5.

They did away with best of 5 because too many 8s were beating 1s.

FlashBolt
03-22-2018, 08:41 AM
They did away with best of 5 because too many 8s were beating 1s.

I'd assume less money involved as well. But yeah, a team can get hot and win two games just like that. I'd rather they have to win four.

warfelg
03-22-2018, 08:49 AM
They did away with best of 5 because too many 8s were beating 1s.

All 5 times you mean?

The NBA fooled you on that one. It's all about money. The potential of 16 more games in the playoffs meant they could get more money for playoff packages.

FlashBolt
03-22-2018, 08:51 AM
All 5 times you mean?

The NBA fooled you on that one. It's all about money. The potential of 16 more games in the playoffs meant they could get more money for playoff packages.

Yeah. people act like David Stern doesn't get paid. NBA isn't a non-profit haha.. "hey ABC, we will make it a best of 7 if you cough up more millions." no problemo there.

warfelg
03-22-2018, 09:00 AM
Yeah. people act like David Stern doesn't get paid. NBA isn't a non-profit haha.. "hey ABC, we will make it a best of 7 if you cough up more millions." no problemo there.

Money is also why they won't go to un-conferenced playoffs. Owners would have to pay more in travel. Would need more breaks (could you imagine the travel needed for a Portland-Miami 1st round or a Washington-Golden State?) meaning possibly more nights without games. Might mean lower quality games because of travel.

The only pro's are:
One conference might get more teams in
Possibly the 2 bets teams meet in finals as long as they are in the same conference.

The con's:
Will cost more money of the owners
Some team will lose out on income in the structure change
Need to find a way to balance schedules

So pro's:
Marginal you make more money
Con's:
You definitely don't make as much money

I wonder which way the owners will go.

IndyRealist
03-22-2018, 09:09 AM
All 5 times you mean?

The NBA fooled you on that one. It's all about money. The potential of 16 more games in the playoffs meant they could get more money for playoff packages.

A hypothetical dominate 1 seed still loses to an 8 seed about 4% of the time in best of 5, or roughly every decade, when in a best of 7 it is around 1% which equates to every 50 years.

warfelg
03-22-2018, 09:15 AM
A hypothetical dominate 1 seed still loses to an 8 seed about 4% of the time in best of 5, or roughly every decade, when in a best of 7 it is around 1% which equates to every 50 years.

Ok? It happened 5 times. It's called an upset. So why not just give the 1 seed a bye and have no 8 seed?

I'm in camp give me the 5 game 1st round back. Winning one game can be a fluke. 3 is not.

Vinylman
03-22-2018, 09:32 AM
And doing away with the imbalance would mean you need a fully balance NBA schedule. That's not going to happen.

But again, if you went to a straight 16 best based on record right now, you would have 9 west teams, 7 east teams. The distance between the last west team in and first west team out is .5 games. Do the same for the east and it's 1.5 games.

Difference from the 17 seed (LAC), the first west team out, and the next team in the west's rankings is 6.5 games. The difference between the 18 seed (MIL), the first east team out, and the next team in the east's rankings is 5 games.

Both conferences have it's drudges. The difference is in the "meat" of the conference. You could say the west 'meat' is 8 teams deep, and the east's is 6 deep.

yeah... I don't really care about the bottom end of the draw ... its the top end that I care about and the reseeding which is why I said I would leave the first round the same....

at the end of the day the consumer gets a better product through reseeding and throwing out the conferences after the first round

I also think a balanced schedule is overrated for the same argument you just made about the bottom teams... it really doesn't impact anything over an 82 game schedule

warfelg
03-22-2018, 09:36 AM
yeah... I don't really care about the bottom end of the draw ... its the top end that I care about and the reseeding which is why I said I would leave the first round the same....

at the end of the day the consumer gets a better product through reseeding and throwing out the conferences after the first round

I also think a balanced schedule is overrated for the same argument you just made about the bottom teams... it really doesn't impact anything over an 82 game schedule

Well it does. The bottom of the east is bigger than the bottom of the west right now. So in the east there is a few more easier games than the west. So how can you tell a team you have to have more tough games, but in the end you are compared against each other for seeding?

Also reseeding after Rd 1 still holds the same issue I pointed too. More potential travel.

I'm telling you, they don't look at what would result in a better product. They look at what would result in more money. Not travelling as far is cheaper, which means more money for the owners.

Vinylman
03-22-2018, 01:28 PM
Well it does. The bottom of the east is bigger than the bottom of the west right now. So in the east there is a few more easier games than the west. So how can you tell a team you have to have more tough games, but in the end you are compared against each other for seeding?

Also reseeding after Rd 1 still holds the same issue I pointed too. More potential travel.

I'm telling you, they don't look at what would result in a better product. They look at what would result in more money. Not travelling as far is cheaper, which means more money for the owners.

I don't agree... you are more likely to be impacted by how your schedule is set up than the actual opponents...
balanced schedule is always an argument to avoid change...

there is no balanced schedule in the NFL or MLB for the most part... why is it so important in the NBA where it also doesn't exist currently even within a conference

warfelg
03-22-2018, 01:47 PM
I don't agree... you are more likely to be impacted by how your schedule is set up than the actual opponents...
balanced schedule is always an argument to avoid change...

there is no balanced schedule in the NFL or MLB for the most part... why is it so important in the NBA where it also doesn't exist currently even within a conference

NFL and MLB donít ditch the leagues/conferences for their playoffs and division winners are still in.

So if you want to completely reseed regardless of conference, you got to find a way to balance it a bit.

FlashBolt
03-22-2018, 01:59 PM
I think the East has been plagued by LeBron James. A bunch of teams don't know how to beat LeBron so they just tank and tank. Poor management gets fired left and right leaving teams desperate and giving terrible contracts to bad players. Bulls were supposed to be a contender, Celtics and Pistons were exterminated by LeBron. Pacers were an elite team with Granger, Hibbert, West, and PG under Vogel. Most of the teams that are or were supposed to take that next level simply abandoned ship and went to tanking mode once their plan failed in stopping LeBron. And because of this turmoil, elite players aren't comfortable being on a dysfunctional management/team knowing they can't beat LeBron so they stay in the West where their teammates and teams are just better managed.

I think LeBron leaving the East will be a good thing because teams will finally start going for the NBA Finals more aggressively and hopefully some other superstars from West see an opportunity to be the King of the East.

Vinylman
03-23-2018, 09:52 AM
NFL and MLB donít ditch the leagues/conferences for their playoffs and division winners are still in.

So if you want to completely reseed regardless of conference, you got to find a way to balance it a bit.

except I haven't suggested reseeding or doing away with the conferences in the first round which fundamentally mitigates the travel issue and imbalance issue