A GOOD IDEA

Barry Laminack: Adam Silver's re-seeding playoff plan is a good idea

Adam Silver floated a solid plan this week. NBA.com

Not to be outdone by Major League Baseball's changes in regards to pace a play (for more on that read these articles by my buddies John Granato and Patrick Creighton), Adam Silver came out a few days ago and discussed the possibility of the NBA looking at a 16 team seeded playoffs bracket - eliminating the Eastern Conference and Western Conference championship brackets.

I'm all for the change.

For years now the Western Conference has dominated the NBA in both record and quality of teams; and while this year it seems there's more parity in the NBA, that hasn't always been the case.  When it comes to deciding who the best team in the NBA is, I don't want to see the fourth best team in the NBA (but the best team in the East) playing the best team from the West in the finals. I want to see the two best teams in the NBA play, and if they both happen to be from the same conference, who cares? That's the whole point of crowning a champion right, to have the two best teams square off in a championship deciding series?

The one big sticking point that Silver mentioned against seeding the playoffs is the travel issues. And while I agree travel will be a nightmare if say the Celtics and Blazers where playing in a 2-2-1-1-1 series, the NBA and its players will get no sympathy from me.

Plenty of people travel for their jobs.

Hell, I once drove over six hours to do a five-minute set for a crowd of 20 (I’m a comedian) and then drove another six hours back home when the show was over. So forgive me if I don’t feel sorry for a bunch of millionaires who have to fly six hours on a chartered plane that they can sleep and eat on.

As a fun exercise, I thought I'd look at last year's and this year's playoffs if the conferences were eliminated and it was seeded.

NOTE - My seeding are based off of winning percentage. To keep it simple (and because I'm lazy) for tie breakers if the 2 teams were in the same conference I used the existing tie break rules (and final seedings). If the two teams were in different conferences, I seeded the team with the higher average point differential (aka +/- ratio) ahead of the team with the lower differential.

Legend:

(.xxx, +x.x) = (winning percent, average point differential)

2016-2017

Here is what  last year's playoffs would have looked like had they been seeded:

1) Golden State Warriors (.817, +11.6) vs 16) Miami Heat (.500, +1.1)

2) San Antonio Spurs (.744, +7.2) vs 15) Chicago Bulls (.500, +0.4)

3) Houston Rockets (.671, +5.8) vs 14) Indiana Pacers (.512, -0.2)

4) Boston Celtics (.646, +2.7) vs 13) Milwaukee Bucks (.512, -0.2)

5) LA Clippers (.622, +4.3) vs 12) Atlanta Hawks (.524, -0.9)

6) Utah Jazz (.622, +3.9) vs 11) Memphis Grizzlies (.524, +0.5)

7) Cleveland Cavaliers (.622, +3.2) vs 10) Oklahoma City Thunder (.573, +0.8)

8) Toronto Raptors (.622, +4.2) vs 9) Washington Wizards (.598, +1.8)

(Portland out)

THIS YEAR (2017-2018)

And for even MORE fun (ok, again, maybe just for me) here is what this year's playoff bracket would look like if they playoffs started today:

1) Houston Rockets (.772, +8.7)  vs 16) LA Clippers (.536, +0.9)

2) Golden State Warriors (.759 +8.1) vs 15) New Orleans Pelicans (.544, +0.2)

3) Toronto Raptors (.719, +8.5) vs 14) Philadelphia 76ers (.545, +2.0)

4) Boston Celtics (.678, +3.5) vs 13) Portland Trail Blazers (.552, +1.1)

5) Cleveland Cavaliers (.607, +0.2) vs 12) Denver Nuggets (.552, +1.0)

6) San Antonio Spurs (.593, +3.1) vs 11) Oklahoma City Thunder (.559, +3.4)

7) Minnesota Timberwolves (.590, +2.9) vs 10) Milwaukee Bucks (.561, 0.0)

8) Washington Wizards (.579, +1.9) vs 9) Indiana Pacers (.569, +1.3)

(Miami, Utah out)

Based on my seeding projections, if you planned on bitching at me on Twitter about the East getting screwed, you would be wrong. Last year the East would have had nine teams in the bracket, the west seven. Portland would have been eliminated. However, this year the West would have 9 and the East only seven, with both Miami and Utah not making it.

The other thing the NBA will have to consider if moving to a seeded playoff system is will it be a bracket similar to the NCAA or will the highest remaining seed always play the lowest remaining seed.

My vote is for the later.

I'll leave it up to you guys and gals to fill out your brackets from here, but when I did mine I had the following championship series:

2016-2017: Golden State vs Boston

2017-2018: Houston vs Golden State

Barry Laminack  can be heard Mon-Fri from 1p-4p on “The Usual Suspects” on ESPN 97.5 FM. You can follow him on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook, and catch up with his comedy schedule on his website.

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The Astros will look to bounce back after a tough week. Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images.

After a 6-3 record to start the season, the Houston Astros had a tumultuous week to say the least. They were swept by the Tigers, lost 2 of 3 games to the Seattle Mariners and placed five players on the COVID injured list.

The Tigers' new manager AJ Hinch returned to Minute Maid Park for the first time since the Astros let him go after the cheating scandal in early 2020.

The Tigers swept the Astros and outscored them 20-8 over their three matchups.

Before the 3rd game of the series, the Astros found out they would be without five players on their active roster. Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, Martin Maldonado and Robel Garcia were all placed on the COVID-19 injury reserved list.

"It's hard on the team but you have to carry on. The show must go on," manager Dusty Baker said. "And it went on today with some younger players we have here."

Garrett Stubbs, Taylor Jones and Abraham Toro were called up as well as Alex De Goti and Ronnie Dawson who made their major league debuts last week.

The Tigers were able to score runs early on Zack Greinke, Lance McCullers and Jake Odorizzi (who made his Astros debut) and none of these starters lasted more than five innings in the outings.

Yuli Gurriel was the one Astros bright spot against the Tigers as he had 7 hits and drove in 2 runs. He is still continuing to hit the ball consistently as he finished the series with a .429 batting average.

After a 1-5 home stand the Astros looked to bounce back on the road against the division leading Seattle Mariners (you read that correctly).

Friday night proved to be the Astros' best offensive performance since their home opener on April 8th against the A's.

They scored five runs on Yusei Kikuchi through 7 innings behind good hitting from Aledmys Diaz, Chas McCormick and De Goti who drove in two runs on his first major league hit.

The Astros had a 5-2 lead at this point, but Seattle was able to score 4 unanswered to win the game.

Bryan Abreu, Blake Taylor and Ryne Stanek were credited with those four runs.

Ryan Pressly tried to clean up the bottom of the 9th inning after Stanek put the first two batters on base. His effort was unsuccessfully as Ty France hit a game-ending single that scored J.P. Crawford from second to secure a Mariners victory.

Saturday was the best game of the week for the Astros as they finally broke their six-game losing streak.

After failing to pitch more than five innings on Monday against the Tigers, Zack Greinke threw eight shutout innings with 91 pitches.

He struck out six batters and gave up only 4 hits.

"That's what aces do," Astros manager Dusty Baker said. "Guys like (Greinke) ... they stop the bleeding and we're about bled out."

Greinke finished the game with 2,705 career strikeouts. He is now third amongst active players in strikeouts behind Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander.

Ryan Pressly got some redemption too as he threw a perfect 9th inning giving him his first save of the year.

The Astros won this game 1-0 as Taylor Jones drove in the game's only run with an RBI single.

Sunday's game ended the Astros week with a whimper, as the Mariners bested Houston 7-2.

Jake Odorizzi got off to a good start, but he gave up three hits and was pulled after Mitch Haniger's fifth-inning triple made it a 3-2 lead over the Astros.

Odorizzi is now (0-2) with a 10.57 ERA after two starts with the Astros.

Houston's offensive woes continued Sunday, as Aledmys Díaz had their only hit, an RBI double in the second inning that fell in when outfielder José Marmolejos lost the ball in the sun.

"It's tough to take when you only got one hit and the one hit we got was lost in the sun," Baker said.

UP NEXT: The Astros (7-8) will finish their road trip with a two game series against the Rockies who have the worst record in the league (4-12) before starting an eight-game homestead.

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