View Full Version : Playoff Seeding Revision

02-28-2008, 06:17 PM
Interesting notion by Hollinger (although he isn't exactly Mr. Popular around here right now)...

David Stern basically shot down the idea of retooling the playoffs during his "State of the Union" address at the All-Star Game, but humor me for a minute. One thing I'll be watching closely the next few weeks is the disparity between the West's No. 9 team and the East's No. 8.

Presently, we're looking at a situation in which a Western team might be in the lottery with 48 wins, while an Eastern club with 34 wins makes the playoffs. Call me crazy, but if you win 14 more games than another team, they shouldn't be the ones getting to the postseason.

A less discussed side effect of this is how it plays with the draft. Our theoretical 34-win team will pick after the 48-win team; in fact, the 48-win team has a chance (albeit a tiny one) of picking first. It's odd to think that making the playoffs in the East will cost a team four spots in the draft (11th to 15th); while missing it in the West could possibly move a team down six (20th to 14th).

Of course, all this rigmarole would be unnecessary if the league would just take the top 16 teams into the postseason, or something approaching that.

[+] EnlargeSam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images

It seems unfair that the Blazers likely won't make the playoffs.

My last proposal on this topic addressed the strength in the West from the perspective of improving the Finals, but didn't look at our new situation in which a couple of very bad Eastern Conference teams will make the playoffs while at least two pretty good Western Conference squads stay home.

So let's try again. I had proposed cross-matching the top seeds in each conference, preserving the 1-through-8 structure but using a 2-3-2 format and playing East vs. West in the first round.

That has to be augmented by something else, however -- selecting the correct 16 teams in the first place.

To do that, it's pretty easy -- just have the teams with the best 16 records make the playoffs. In case of a tie, the first tie-break should be the conference with the least representation (i.e., if two teams tie for the 16th spot, whichever conference had fewer of the other 15 teams would earn the berth). That gets us as close to an 8-8 mix as possible in most years, and means this system only rears its head when there is a disparity in win-loss record.

Additionally, the league can continue its fetish with rewarding division winners by giving six of the top eight seeds to division champs. This has an added bonus, for you TV execs in the audience, because it guarantees at least two first-round series in the Mountain or Pacific time zones (well, unless the Timberwolves win the Northwest Division ... but fortunately, we needn't consider that possibility).

Seeding teams 1 through 16 would produce some huge geographic imbalances, but those can be addressed partially by allowing the top eight seeds' opponent to shift one spot up or down to produce matchups from the same conference.

What you end up with, if the season ended today, looks like this:

(1) Boston vs. (16) Washington
(8) Orlando* vs. (9) Phoenix
(4) San Antonio vs. (13) Toronto
(5) New Orleans vs. (12) Golden State
(2) Detroit vs. (14) Cleveland**
(7) Utah* vs. (10) Houston
(3) L.A. Lakers vs. (15) Portland**
(6) Dallas vs. (11) Denver

* - seeding moves up as division champ
** - pairing shifted to create conference match-up

I think we can all agree this would be vastly more compelling than what's actually on offer; in addition, it would let teams like Portland and Sacramento keep pushing for a playoff spot and put some actual pressure on clubs like Washington to win a game once in a while.

There are drawbacks. Every round would have to use the 2-3-2 format or the travel will quickly get ridiculous for series like Orlando-Phoenix. Additionally, TV people won't like this because it potentially could give them some troublesome second-round pairings if several teams from the Eastern time zone make the second round -- with 13 of the league's 30 teams there, this is certainly a real possibility down the road (given the state of the East, way down the road).

In my humble opinion, what this format adds to the other rounds of the playoffs more than offsets what might be lost in the second round. Not to mention what it does for the regular season. The current system's credibility will take a huge hit if 48 wins gets one team in the lottery and 34 puts another in the playoffs.

What do you guys think? I'd like to see the playoffs for what they should be, the best teams competing against each other and a 14 game differential seems a little too much (Can you imagine if it's more than 20 by the end of the season?). The only real obstacle seems to be geographical.

02-29-2008, 01:36 AM
Conventional Wisdom is an oxymoron to Stern... no never mind, Stern is just a moron...

02-29-2008, 07:47 AM
stern has shown that he is an idiot time and time again. He won't do anything about this. If he does, i'll eat my shoe

Usually Lurkin
02-29-2008, 11:28 AM
I think regional playoffs are good for the league.

I think draft position should not be based on playoffs, though.
They should replace the current lottery system which allows better teams better draft position if they miss the playoffs, and encourages borderline teams to tank for a few ping pong balls. If they block the lottery such that the worst 5 teams get the 1st five picks, the second worst 5 teams get the 2nd 5 picks, etc., they would discourage tanking, 'cause you'd have to tank your way past 5 teams in order to even have a chance at significantly moving up in the draft.

02-29-2008, 12:44 PM
im worry about the MAVS~~

02-29-2008, 12:48 PM
im worry about the MAVS~~

Yeah, "im worry about the MAVS " too ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

02-29-2008, 01:07 PM
Yeah, "im worry about the MAVS " too ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I hope u really do!!!!

02-29-2008, 01:11 PM
We should just eliminate that stupid lottery system & do it like football - worst team gets the first pick, best team gets the last... I know the system was implemented to keep teams from tanking for a better pick, but it really hasn't made a difference in that regard... Instead of tanking for a certain position, they tank for more lottery balls - but they STILL tank...

Also, it's pretty unfair that a legitimate stinker of a team can't get the first pick - it pretty much insures that crappy teams will stay crappy (which also contributes to the same teams winning championships over & over...)

I know the lottery system is only part of the problem, but I'd love to see a change in how the NBA builds its teams... It seems pretty unfair that the same franchises win the Finals year after year - only 14 of 30 teams have ever won a title, with 25 of 49 Championships belonging to the Celtics & Lakers alone... In the NFL, 17 of 32 teams have won the Super Bowl, with no team ever winning more than 5 times - tell me which sports' fans are happier overall? (I'll give you a hint: it's the sport that makes the most money!)

As a Cowboys fan, parity sucks - but as a Mavs fan, parity might be a good thing (and vice versa for Patriots/Celtics fans...)

03-02-2008, 01:50 AM
Actually I think that's just due to the random variance of one-game-series. I guarantee you that the Patriots would have beaten the Giants in seven games, and probably in five.

In the NBA (as well as NHL and MLB), they set up seven-game-series because it drastically increases the likelihood that the stronger team advances. How often does the weaker team pull off Game 1 on the road, only to fall in five or six games? All the freaking time.

I understand long series aren't possible in football, but my point is that this is the real reason championships are more evenly distributed in the NFL, not the draft order.

I know that with the exception of the Yankees, the titles are more evenly distributed in baseball, but it doesn't seem to me that seven-game-series in baseball do a very good job at determining the better team. Home field advantage means essentially nil, and there are only nine innings a game instead of 100 possessions.

03-02-2008, 10:01 AM
I hope u really do!!!!

Yes~~ he really do!!!! ~~~ !!!! ~~~~ !!! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ !!!!!!!!! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ OMG ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What's with all the ~~~'s? Some kind of trademark or something? Stoops

03-03-2008, 09:25 AM
Mavs might play Lakers!!!!

03-03-2008, 04:47 PM
Yes... yes they might.