Should the NBA Swap to the Best 16 Team Playoff Format?
The Commissioner has been back and forth over trying to introduce this playoff system, but is it finally time to convert from the traditional format?
Lets be honest.
The NBA is fun to watch, but ultimately, we already know who will win the NBA Finals before the season begins. This makes the season not as fun to watch and the playoffs incredibly boring, especially in the Western Conference. The Warriors have typically grabbed the top seed, unless the Rockets have a stellar regular season, and then come out on top. And the East, until this upcoming season, was dominated by LeBron James and whatever team he was playing for at the time. But now he's gone to the Western Conference, where it seems the majority of the talent has gone. I mean, for crying out loud, the majority of the teams who didn't make the playoffs in the West, had better records than half of the teams that did make the playoffs in the East.
With the change in cap space for NBA franchises, they are able to pay more money to retain more and more stars. That means more and more super teams, and personally, that takes away from the fun in watching the games if you have a team with three Hall-of-Famers (Golden State) and a team that has one great player and a decent supporting cast that can win, but you know they'll lose because of the talent difference.
So, is it time for a change?
As it stands now, the teams in the East (with exception to the Celtics, Raptors, and Sixers) have no reason to really compete because the field is so weak, they know maybe winning 35 to 40 games could lock them in for a playoff spot. And they're fine with that.
As for the West, the 8th spot in the playoffs is a hard spot to grab because it is usually a three or four team battle to see who is able to play the top team in the league in the first round, and those teams want that challenge.
So, the best way to fix this imbalance is to change the playoff format to allow the best 16 teams in. Don't dissolve the East and West Conferences, just dissolve the old playoff system. Give each team a seeding number and let the best play. This creates a tougher road to the playoffs for the top tier teams, and gives the teams who compete all year a shot to make it in the playoffs. This would motivate the more mediocre teams to play better to try and get in the playoffs, since the 35-40 win teams would be excluded from this new playoff system.
This would also give the NBA fan base a new reason to watch. Redoing the format would gain more viewers for the playoffs, and it could also trickle down to where more and more fans would watch the regular season games.
I don't know whether this is actually the best idea for the league, but it would definitely cause some waves, and I believe we would see more competing during the regular season for one of those coveted 16 playoff spots. And it would be much more fun for us fans to watch.