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?