View Full Version : playoff seeding

02-18-2006, 06:58 PM
Remaking the flawed playoff format
by: Marc Stein
posted: Friday, February 17, 2006

Expect more on this Saturday night when Commissioner David Stern gets asked it about during his annual All-Star Game address ... but it looks as though there might be some movement on the controversial issue of playoff seedings.

Minor movement for now, yes, but movement nonetheless.

An examination of the format for seeding teams in the NBA's new six-division world was not on the agenda for Friday's Rules and Competition Committee meeting here in Houston, even with Dallas and San Antonio doomed to the hardest possible road to the NBA Finals despite their respective 60-win paces. But I'm told the issue was introduced for discussion at day's end by NBA deputy commissioner Russ Granik, with a pledge to assess the current system in much greater detail at the committee's next meeting in June.

It's important to note that no change could be enacted before next season and that no alternative formats have been officially proposed yet.

However ...

The good news is that some folks on the committee, which includes a representative from each of the league's 30 teams, can see how badly we need one.

Because the top three seeds in each conference go to division winners, either the Mavericks or Spurs will be stuck with the No. 4 seed in the West no matter how many games they win. Which puts them on course to meet in the second round ... and which also makes the sixth or seventh seed in the West far more attractive than No. 5.

Possible solutions?

We repeat: They haven't gotten that far. Yet you can bet that re-seeding teams after each round of the playoffs, as seen in the NHL, is certain to be suggested.

Another idea: Keep the divisions as they are but guarantee each division winner a top-four seed instead of a top-three seed and continue to give home-court advantage in every playoff matchup to the team with the better overall record. The other spot in the top four seeds would then go to the team with the next-best record and those four teams would be seeded based on overall record.

Using that formula, based on West standings at the break, Dallas would be seeded No. 1, followed by No. 2 San Antonio, No. 3 Phoenix and No. 4 Denver. This proposal would thus ensure that winning a division still means something (for teams in the Northworst-leading Nuggets' position) but also would keep the top two teams in the conference from meeting in the second round ... as well as lessening the likelihood that a No. 5 seed (like the Clippers) would actually benefit by losing on purpose to fall to sixth or seventh.
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The NBA should just eliminate seedings. The divisions really serve no purpose four of the eight teams in the playoffs are from the Southwest division. It will probably stay that way for the foreseable future.

02-18-2006, 07:39 PM
Why could no change be enacted before next season? There is no reason why it couldn't be done this season. A couple of years ago, Stern announced at the All Star Break that the first round woud be extended to best of 7 games effective immediately.

Why couldn't a similar decision be reached now?

02-18-2006, 07:45 PM
No reason it couldn't. But then phil jackzen would claim that cubes has stern scared too. :)

Mavs Rule
02-18-2006, 11:24 PM
In Stern's press conference, he said that they discussed it in committee and decided to shelve it until they get more data mining done on the subject. He also added that this is an anomaly that if you changed, could end up in an anomoly in the other direction, so they want to be cautious.

They definitely have ruled out reseeding after every playoff round. The most likely choice they would consider is possibly something along this line: Seeding the second or third highest record in the conference, if not a division winner, to what ever seed it would be based on record if in the top three records in the conference.

02-19-2006, 12:14 AM
Well certainly changing the playoff round from 5-7 favored no one and didn't change any contestants so in that respect I can see it.

Changing seeding SHOULDN'T make much difference unless they feel that someone might throw games. Certainly 2-3,6-7 are the best seeds this year.

02-19-2006, 12:29 AM
Why should it mean anything to win a division? Really? The team with the best record should have the highest seed, so on and so forth. To hell with this crap rewarding someone for playing in a weaker division.

02-19-2006, 02:36 AM
Why should it mean anything to win a division? Really? The team with the best record should have the highest seed, so on and so forth. To hell with this crap rewarding someone for playing in a weaker division.

Then there's no point in having divisions at all, and there is no way the NBA is going to get rid of them.

02-19-2006, 07:09 AM
Why not? What is the reason for having divisions

02-19-2006, 07:32 AM
Well certainly changing the playoff round from 5-7 favored no one and didn't change any contestants so in that respect I can see it.

Changing seeding SHOULDN'T make much difference unless they feel that someone might throw games. Certainly 2-3,6-7 are the best seeds this year.

That's the thing that bugs me. An average Pheonix team, a very average Denver team, a fading Memphis team, or an out-manned Hornets team is guaranteed to make the conference final and set themselves up for an upset when they get they're, because they don't have to go up against a powerhouse.

And i will go on record and say that if there is a tie with one game left that decided a team from being 5th or 6th, one of those team will throw a game.

02-19-2006, 08:01 AM
totally agree with you, haven't the clippers already talked about where they wanna finish in the standings?

02-19-2006, 09:27 AM
Why not? What is the reason for having divisions

The main reason for having divisions is so that you can play teams in your geographic area more than the rest of the teams. The unbalanced schedule is the main reason for the divisions. This way hopefully teams can build up some rivalries while playing their closer competition more often.

02-19-2006, 10:35 AM
You have to assume more frachises as well. So divisions again allows an even more unbalanced schedule. 4 games with each division member, 3 with all others. In that case winning a division should mean something (automatic playoff berth imo) and the seeds should be record.

04-12-2006, 05:44 AM
NBA should reseed playoff teams

[By Kevin B. Blackistone / The Dallas Morning News]

Just in the last year, it instituted a dress code and barred employment to kids straight out of high school. In previous years, it divvied up teams into more divisions, dumped short best-of-5 playoff series and adopted the game-changing 3-point shot.

In short, change is not anathema to the NBA. Modification is as much a part of its tradition as tradition is a part of baseball.

So it doesn't make sense that the league is wedded to a postseason format that no longer fits its regular-season format.

It is time for Extreme Makeover: NBA Playoffs.

Reseed them.

This isn't a novel demand. Others have raised it before, as recently as February's mid-season break called All-Star Weekend, when the league's plenipotentiary, David Stern, gave his annual state of pro basketball address.

When the thought has been raised before, it has never even gone as far as to receive an up or down vote from the board of governors, a league spokesman said. Someone should bring it up again after this season.

For now, we have this: the two best teams in the West by far are the Spurs and Mavericks. Each is on the threshold of its 60th victory. The next closest team in the West is Phoenix. The Suns just won their 50th, a rung no other Western Conference team will reach.

But the Suns are guaranteed an easier route to the Western Conference finals than the Spurs or the Mavericks. How's that?

The loser of the Spurs-Mavericks battle for best record in the West will be dropped to the No. 4 seed in the conference, while the Suns are guaranteed the No. 2 seed. That's because the Spurs and Mavericks are in the same division (Southwest), and the division winners, including the Suns (Pacific), are seeded 1 through 3.

More ridiculous, if the Spurs and Mavericks escape their first-round matchups, they must meet in the second round.

The adage is true that you have to beat the best to be the best. The road from the West to the NBA Finals goes through Texas, and at some point, the Spurs and Mavericks would seem destined to have that head-on collision on Interstate 35.

But why not have that meeting of titans where it would make sense, in the conference finals? Who wants to watch a conference title series between the Spurs or Mavericks and the Suns, or any other team in what would appear to be a mismatch?

The Suns are 1-3 against the Spurs and are scheduled to meet the Mavericks in Phoenix on Thursday with a chance to even that season series at two wins apiece.

The NHL wouldn't let that happen. For over a decade, hockey has been reseeding its playoffs based on conference performance.

"The reason we use re-seeding is to reinforce the value and meaning of regular-season performance," NHL spokesman Frank Brown explained.

What reward is there in winning one of the league's six divisions, as the Stars are about to do? A top seed, 1 through 3.

But after the first round, the best remaining teams are matched with the worst. A Spurs-Mavericks second-round matchup would be averted.

The NFL says it's a misnomer that itreseeds. It only assures that the highest seed plays the lowest remaining seed.

Time was when the NBA was able to avoid what it is about to have happen. A couple of seasons ago, Minnesota and San Antonio finished with the best records in the West from the same division. But they wouldn't have met in the playoffs until the conference championship.

That was because there were only four divisions in basketball then. The third-best team in the West, the Lakers, got the No. 2 seed and the Spurs were awarded No. 3.

Last season, the NBA split up its four divisions into six, creating the possibility of the problem the Spurs and Mavericks now present.

The good news is that there is an easy solution to all of this that could prove better than what even the NHL and NFL do. It could preserve the credit for winning one's division as well as reward another for seasonlong accomplishment.

Stern's soon-to-be-retired longtime lieutenant, Russ Granik, suggested during All-Star Weekend that teams be seeded based on both criteria. Take the three division winners and the second-place team with the best record and award them seeds of 1 through 4 based on number of victories.

To quote those Guinness-in-a-bottle geniuses: "Brilliant!"

04-14-2006, 02:55 AM
NBA may tweak playoff format ... eventually

By DAVID MOORE / The Dallas Morning News

PHOENIX – There's a chance the playoff format will change. But not in time to help the Mavericks.

Commissioner David Stern and deputy commissioner Russ Granik discussed the NBA's seeding process in a conference call with the media Thursday. Stern said he wasn't sure "we can find a good reason for any change to be made," then conceded there might be a better way to do it for next season. Granik said that response among the people he has talked to has been mixed but acknowledged, "we can clear the issue up of the team with the second-best record being seeded fourth."

The Mavericks hold the fourth seed in the Western Conference despite a significantly better record than No. 2 seed Phoenix and No. 3 Denver. Granik likes the idea of taking the three division winners in each conference along with the runner-up with the best record and seeding those teams one through four according to record.

Said Mark Cuban: "It's too strong a possibility that a team could win a division with a record under .500, and a single division could have three 50-win teams, which would create a big mess."