A GOOD IDEA

Barry Laminack: Adam Silver's re-seeding playoff plan is 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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Astros lose to Braves, 6-2. Composite Getty Image.

Reynaldo López struck out seven over six scoreless innings, Orlando Arcia homered and the Atlanta Braves won their third straight, 6-2 over the Houston Astros on Tuesday night.

López (2-0) allowed four hits and walked one in his third straight sterling outing to start the season.

“It’s like I’ve always said, for me, the important thing is to focus,” López said through an interpreter. “To have the focus during the outings and then, to be able to locate those pitches.”

He has given up one run in 18 innings for an ERA of 0.50.

“He threw the ball really well against a really good hitting club,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “Another solid one.”

Arcia hit a solo home run to left in the second and a sacrifice fly in the seventh.

Luis Guillorme and backup catcher Chadwick Tromp each hit a two-run double in the ninth to put the Braves ahead 6-0.

“Tromp has done a good job ever since we’ve been bringing him in these situations and filling in,” Snitker said. “I’ve got all the confidence in the world in him back there. ... He’s an aggressive hitter. He’s knocked in some big runs for us in the limited time that he’s played.”

Kyle Tucker homered for the Astros leading off the ninth against Aaron Bummer, and Mauricio Dubón had a two-out RBI single to cut the lead to four. After Bummer walked Chas McCormick to put two on, Raisel Iglesias induced a groundout by Victor Caratini to end it and secure his fourth save.

“They pitched well, and our guys are grinding out at-bats,” Houston manager Joe Espada said. “Even in the ninth inning there, we’re grinding, fighting until the end.”

Hunter Brown (0-3) yielded two runs on five hits with three strikeouts and three walks in six innings. Brown allowed nine runs in two-thirds of an inning in his previous start, last Thursday against Kansas City.

Brown said he executed better Tuesday than he had in his previous two starts.

“He mixed all his pitches well,” Espada said. “The breaking ball was effective. He threw some cutters in on the hands to some of those lefties. He mixed his pitches really well. That was a really strong performance.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Braves: 2B Ozzie Albies was placed on the 10-day injured list with a broken right big toe. IF David Fletcher had his contract selected from Triple-A Gwinnett to take Albies’ place on the roster.

Astros: RHP Justin Verlander (right shoulder inflammation) threw a side session Tuesday, but Houston will wait until Wednesday to see how Verlander feels before deciding whether he will make his first start this weekend against the Nationals, Espada said. ... RHP Luis Garcia (right elbow surgery) threw around 20-25 pitches off the bullpen mound, and RHP José Urquidy (right forearm strain) also threw off the mound, Espada said. ... LHP Framber Valdez (left elbow soreness) played catch off flat ground.

UP NEXT

Atlanta LHP Max Fried (1-0, 8.74 ERA) starts Wednesday in the series finale opposite RHP J.P. France (0-2, 8.22).

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