In recent days, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver added fuel to the already burning fire over how to solve the disparity between the Eastern and Western conference. Silver was quoted saying that he would be open to the idea of a complete restructuring of the playoff system already in place, which sees the top 8 seeds from each conference head to the postseason. In his new, and hopefully improved, playoff system, conferences would be almost completely disregarded, and the fans would get to see the top 16 teams in the league battle it out for the Larry O’Brien trophy. Until the past few years, nobody— no fan, no coach, no player— showed much discontent with the playoff system in place, but it has recently come to light that the two conferences are nowhere near each other in terms of the level of competitiveness. This has been a problem for a few years now; in each of the past three seasons, the West has owned 10 of the league’s 16 best teams. The last time there was an even 8-8 split? The lockout season in 2011-2012 that began 16 games late. Silver has made it known that he plans to speak with the league’s competitive committee about a new system in which each of the division winners (this keeps the idea of East v. West intact, for now) get one of six playoff spots, and then the remaining ten would be given out to the teams owning the next ten best records, regardless of which conference or division they are in. If his idea were to pass, this would mean teams such as the Charlotte Bobcats (22-30, 7th seed in the East) and the Miami Heat (22-30, 8th seed in the West) would surrender their positions in the playoffs to teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder (28-25, 9th seed in the West) and the New Orleans Pelicans (27-26, 10th seed in the West).
“Ultimately we want to see your best teams in the playoffs. And there (currently) is an imbalance and a certain unfairness. … A lot of owners have strong feelings on it, but I think it is an area where we need to make a change,” said second year commissioner Silver “I think that’s the kind of proposal we need to look at. There are travel issues, of course, but in this day and age every team, of course, has their own plane, travels charter,” Silver said. This idea might scare some fans who point to change in the sport as a bad thing (a la new format for the Dunk Contest that was done away with after two years) but it is time for a change, and here’s why— the playoff system, the one currently in place, sucks. The fans deserve to see the best 16 teams in basketball battle it out for a championship, but until the format is resolved, that fantasy will never become a reality.
All quotes taken from ESPN.com