View Full Version : NBA looking at changing the playoff format, and more

02-20-2006, 01:19 PM

NBA to address playoff format problem <!-- end pagetitle --> <!-- begin bylinebox --> By Chris Sheridan

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<!-- begin text11 div --><!-- begin leftcol --> <!-- template inline --> HOUSTON -- The two best teams in the Western Conference are on course to meet in the second round of the playoffs, which is a problem.
Even David Stern recognizes as much, which is why his league is taking a closer look at changing the postseason seeding format to prevent similar scenarios from unfolding in the future.
Under rules implemented when the league expanded from four divisions to six last season, the top three seeds go to each of the division leaders, with the fourth through eighth seeds going to the teams with the next best records in the conference.
The Dallas Mavericks (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/clubhouse?team=dal) (41-11) currently lead the Southwest Division by one game over the San Antonio Spurs (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/clubhouse?team=sas) (40-12), who have the second-best record in the conference but would drop into the fourth seed if they failed to win the division.
"I think the one thing there may be some interest in ... would be to maybe look at how you seed the top four teams," deputy commissioner Russ Granik said Saturday. "One thing that we have kicked around is whether you might say, all right, those same four teams are going to get the top four seeds, but maybe you do it in accordance with their records."
The issue will come up for further discussion when the league's competition committee meets in June.
Granik all but ruled out giving playoff berths to the top eight teams in each conference, saying the league wanted to keep an incentive for winning the division. He also said the league has no interest in re-seeding teams after each round of the playoffs.
Other matters addressed by Stern and Granik at the commissioner's annual All-Star news conference included:
Stern discounted the possibility of moving All-Star Weekend overseas, a notion he had considered in the past. The 2007 game will be in Las Vegas, and the league is negotiating with New Orleans for the 2008 game. "We really don't think there's an overseas destination that makes sense for us from a building perspective. And in addition, we don't really currently have the time within the schedule to do something like that."
On the issue of the Seattle SuperSonics (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/clubhouse?team=sea) relocating if they cannot win approval for public financing of a new arena, Stern sounded as though he'd support a move after the team's lease expires in 2010. "I think if the situation is not ultimately improved ... I think the Board of Governors would be inclined to listen to their partner's request for an opportunity to be in a place where there is a good lease and a good facility," he said.
Stern also was unequivocal in saying the Hornets would return to New Orleans for the 2007-08 season, though he complimented Oklahoma City by saying it had proved itself as a major league city. He also said he had spoken to representatives from Kansas City, San Diego and Anaheim, Calif., about those cities' interest in attracting an NBA team, although expansion is not in the league's immediate plans.
Pushing back a timetable he established prior to the season, Stern said he expected to name a new deputy commissioner to replace the departing Granik sometime in April.
Speaking of the league's decision to hold the 2007 All-Star Game in Las Vegas, Stern said it was not a "dry run" for possibly relocating an NBA franchise there, reiterating that he would remain opposed to such a move as long as casinos in that state continue to accept wagers on NBA games. "We have one issue with Las Vegas, and it's not about gambling, as I've said. Forty states have lotteries, and those that don't have Indian reservations with gambling establishments, or video poker in their eating establishments, so everybody gambles now. Whether that's right or wrong, that's state government policy that's been left to the states, and that's what America does."
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02-20-2006, 03:02 PM
Too bad for the Mavs...

02-20-2006, 03:44 PM
In my mind there seems to be a simple solution to this. I think it's fine if you want to retain the integrity of the divisions by awarding each division champion a playoff spot, but once you have the playoff teams determined (i.e. three division champs and the next five by record), the seedings should be based soley on records.

Why bother with reseeding only the top four teams as Granik suggests? You might prevent a situation like SA/Dallas this year, but inevitably you'll still penalize quality at large playoff teams in favor of division champs with near .500 records.

If a near .500 team wins a division it seems fair enough to just include them in the playoffs, not to pretend they somehow earned a #3 seed over a team that might win 50 games.

Los Angeles
02-21-2006, 04:00 PM
I've thought this was a major problem from the start, but I thought it was a problem from the Pistons/Pacers perspective. Ron took care of that, but I'm glad that another division is forcing the issue.

Los Angeles
02-21-2006, 04:05 PM
Who :confused: ;)
I'm sorry - I meant to blame Jesus.

02-21-2006, 04:18 PM
Maybe the top division winners will be seeded anywhere between 1-4 in their conference and the 4th team would get their seed based off of their record compared to the rest of the division winners.

For example, if we are to look at the current standings as a reference point:

Northwest division winner: Denver 28-26
Pacific Division winner: Phoenix 35-17
Southwest Division winner: Dallas 41-11
4th best record in the Western Conference: San Antonio 40-12

1st seed - Dallas
2nd seed - San Antonio
3rd seed - Phoenix
4th seed - Denver

The rest of the seeding ( 5 to 8 ) would be determined by Conference record....just like the way it is now. This way....the division winner with a worse record then the top 3 teams will still be a 4th seed...but will not be seeded ahead of team with a better record. Although it is still possible that a 5th seeded team will have a better record then the 3rd or even 4th seed.....there isn't an inconsistency in the 1st and 2nd seeds and the top teams in the Conference.

Knucklehead Warrior
02-21-2006, 04:30 PM
Seed by records only and this problem goes away. Under the current system there will usually be a very good team in 4th and possibly a mediocre team in 3rd. In fact, it's probably likely that the 4th team will have a better record than the 3rd. It's only the second best team in either of two divisions having a better record than the worst division.

Just guarantee that a division winner gets to make the playoffs. Of course then you will have this same discussion when a division winner has the 9th best record. Unlikely, but don't say it will never happen.

Many years ago the Celtics and 76ers (back in the Dr. J years I think), had unbelievable records in the same division. I don't remember how they seeded back then, but it was possible that the team with the second best record (like 60 wins) was seeded third. You just can't tinker this problem away unless you forget about divisions and seed across the whole field.

02-21-2006, 05:35 PM
The NFL structures their playoffs the same way the NBA does currently, and nobody cries when they've got the 2nd best record in their conference but end up seeded 4th. The easy answer for the Spurs is: "win your division."