A GOOD IDEA
Barry Laminack: Adam Silver's re-seeding playoff plan is a good idea
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.
(.xxx, +x.x) = (winning percent, average point differential)
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)
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.