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How the NBA can and should improve the Post-season

Discussion in 'Other Sports Forum' started by Galant, Jun 17, 2014.

  1. Galant

    Galant Love - Unity - Sacrifice - Eternity Staff Member

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    For anyone who missed it, the standard of competition in the East this past season was far below that of the West.

    Pacers .683
    Heat .659
    Raptors .585
    Bulls .585
    Wizards .537
    Nets .537
    Bobcats .524
    Hawks .463

    Spurs .756
    Thunder .720
    Clippers .695
    Rockets .659
    Blazers .659
    Warriors .622
    Grizzlies .610
    Mavericks .598

    Whilst the East vs West setup is a longstanding tradition, the very concept of playoffs is to see the best of the league compete for the title.
    As currently established the playoffs are vulnerable to strong bias. It's an inherent flaw in the system.
    This year's Eastern stats were bad but they could even have been worse - and quite frankly, we should ask ourselves who wants to see that?

    There is a simple adjustment that can be made to the way the playoffs work which can both maintain an East vs. West aspect (even providing for more East vs West stats and breakdowns) whilst also improving the playoffs so that there is more balance and the best teams have a chance to advance further.

    Here it is - once the teams have been seeded as normal but have the first round of the playoffs immediately go cross-conference.

    That is:

    E1 vs W8
    E2 vs W7
    E3 vs W6
    E4 vs W5
    E5 vs W4
    E6 vs W3
    E7 vs W2
    E8 vs W1

    Instead of the notion of the East and West separately trying to find the best single team and then East meeting West in the finals only, the philosophy changes so that East and West put forward their best 8 teams and then meet immediately in the playoffs, with the best teams in the league then competing between themselves for the top spot.

    Had that been the case this year then it would have looked like this:

    Pacers vs Mavericks
    Heat vs Grizzlies
    Raptors vs Warriors
    Bulls vs Blazers
    Wizards vs Rockets
    Nets vs Clippers
    Bobcats vs Thunder
    Hawks vs Spurs

    Now that, to me, is a lot more enticing. There would be a couple of ways to set up the bracket. You could do it with the seeds 1-4 of the West (& their opponents) on one side and 1-4 of the East on the other, or you could have seeds 1,2,5,6 of the West on one side (with 8,7,4,3 of the East), and vice-versa.

    This would be either:

    WEST
    Spurs vs. Hawks
    Blazers vs. Bulls
    Thunder vs. Bobcats
    Warriors vs. Raptors

    EAST
    Pacers vs. Mavs
    Wizards vs. Rockets
    Heat vs. Grizzlies
    Nets vs. Clippers

    OR

    WEST
    Spurs vs. Hawks
    Clippers vs. Nets
    Thunder vs. Bobcats
    Rockets vs. Wizards

    EAST
    Pacers vs. Mavericks
    Raptors vs. Warriors
    Heat vs. Grizzlies
    Bulls vs. Blazers

    Overall, a lot more balance so that if the two conferences are balanced it won't make any difference, but if the two conferences are unbalanced then it will help correct for that.

    Of course, the big argument is that you could potentially have a West vs West final. That is something that this system potentially loses. However, in my mind, that's not a major loss. Essentially the East vs West battle has already taken place by having both conferences put forward their best eight teams. They've all played off and the best teams have gone through. If two teams from one conference meet in the finals it may simply be an indication that the west was stronger that year. That'll be something to track. What you have potentially gained is the two strongest teams facing one another for the championship (no matter where they're from) and you have definitely helped to eliminate the possibility that a strong team will face a much weaker team just because one is from the East and the other from the West.

    At the end of the day what is it we want to see in a final? - East vs. West or the two best teams in the league going at it?

    For me, East vs. West is just a stat. However, having a finals that has a better chance of showcasing the two strongest teams is what we all hope for from a knockout competition.

    A simple change, big, exciting potential. I don't see the downside.

    Anyone?
     
  2. Alex44

    Alex44 Boshosaurus Rex

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    So the second best team in the west never gets a chance to get to the finals or something?

    Everyone in the playoffs has equal opportunity.
     
  3. Limbo

    Limbo Mad Stillz

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    The East has been awful for the last four years, especially with guys like Rose and Rondo getting major injuries. It'll even out eventually, I would think. No need to make that drastic of a change. The West is unusually much better than the East right now, but it won't be that lopsided after another couple years.
     
  4. Alex44

    Alex44 Boshosaurus Rex

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    Exactly. Until then...if you truly are the second best team in your conference you get a shot at the best. Its called the conference finals.
     
  5. Section126

    Section126 We are better than you. Luxury Box

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    Miami, Florida
    Disagree. 11' had the Bulls as the best team in basketball. the 12' Celtics were damn good..and the Heat beat the West's best two years in a row while having gaudy regular season records vs. the West all 4 years.

    The Heat roll up a mini-dynasty, and everybody wants to change EVERYTHING.
     
  6. Stringer Bell

    Stringer Bell Post Hard, Post Often Club Member

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    Of course the East will be weaker. Nobody wants to play in the same conference as LeBron. I'm not sure why this is surprising.
     
  7. Unlucky 13

    Unlucky 13 Team Rosen Staff Member Club Member

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    Not a big NBA fan anymore, but to me, the best way to improve it would be leave the East and West alone, but to go back to a 5-game series in the first round, with the higher seed getting the first two at home. I'd also get rid of the off days between games in the same city, and go back to afternoon games on weekends.
     
  8. Galant

    Galant Love - Unity - Sacrifice - Eternity Staff Member

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    This was an attempt to even out the road to the finals while leaving the conference system more intact and making fewer changes.
    The only other alternative is to make playoff qualification a matter of regular season record irrespective of conference - the top 16 teams go through and that's that.

    Either way, I think something does need to be done. The fact that a team can play to high level and yet be excluded from the playoffs while lesser teams go through is significant.
    At the end of the day, in both theory and practise, you want to see the best teams go through to the post-season. That's what this is about.
     
  9. Unlucky 13

    Unlucky 13 Team Rosen Staff Member Club Member

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    Not me, I love upsets.
     
  10. Galant

    Galant Love - Unity - Sacrifice - Eternity Staff Member

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    Not really. While you can argue that once into the playoffs each game is of equal value, the very fact that the teams are seeded according to regular season performance is a testament to the fact that some teams are understood as having shown themselves as better than others and the system is in place to set up strong contests in the later rounds and avoid possible mismatches. That's just a fact and purpose of the system.

    To be honest, to make the playoffs as strong as possible - which is what people want and what the system tends towards - more sweeping changes would have to be made than those I suggested (changes to the general system of playoff qualification). Instead I chose to focus on the playoffs themselves and find something would permit the league to retain the East vs West idea whilst better rewarding strong regular season performances, providing greater variety, and most of all, increasing the chances of stronger late series performances.
     
  11. Galant

    Galant Love - Unity - Sacrifice - Eternity Staff Member

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    And a more accurately seeded system would give more of a chance for upsets.
     

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