During Adam Silver's press conference at All-Star weekend, he announced that a few changes to the playoff format are being discussed. Zach Lowe wrote about one of the possibilities already and now the basketball watching world is all giving their opinion on the matter. I, for one, am all for new ideas. I think it would be lazy for the league to not look at ways to spice up the most dramatic part of their season. I think about different things the league could change quite often and have even debated doing a podcast series about the topic, but I will keep it to a top five for now. So, without further ado, here are five changes I would make to the league if I were in charge...
1. Expand to Seattle
Seattle, Washington just needs an NBA team. The town is sports crazy and it is an absolute shame how the Sonics left for OKC. This would push the league total to 31 teams, which will make sense as you read #2.
2. Get rid of conferences/cut seven regular season games
Ok, so now that we are at 31 teams, we can get rid of conferences and cut seven games from the regular season with those two changes going hand in hand. I propose that every team would face the other 30 teams twice each, once on the road and once at home, which makes 60 games. The other 15 games will be randomly assigned to half of the league, so that each team plays every other team twice and half of the league a third time. That seems unfair right? Well, the following season each team would play the other half of the league, so that every two seasons you play each opponent five times. This makes the regular season 75 games long, a nice, round number that isn't too drastic from where it has been at historically. This would cut way down on back-to-backs and would totally end four-games-in-five-nights scenarios. So where do the players and owners make up the money lost from seven regular season games?
3. Add some kind of in season tournament
Yes, I love soccer and am fascinated by midseason tournaments that run concurrently but are a separate competition to league play. Call me crazy, but I like that there are multiple trophies or "titles" to play for. I think a league cup competition could really work. Put all 31 teams in it, give the defending champ a bye then randomly draw the rest of the matchups and it is just a straight knockout competition from there. How cool would it be to have a team win a cup and playoff double? Plus, this could make up for the lost revenue in dropping the seven regular season games. I would sell this as it's own TV package and I'm thinking NBC would be perfect for it.
4. Add some kind of playoff, play-in tournament
I love the idea of a play-in tournament, however, I think it should only be for one spot. In my league, there are no conferences so the top 15 teams from the regular season would automatically make the playoffs in the spot where they finished. Then seed #16 would play #19 and #17 would play #18, with the winners advancing to a winner-take-all for the last playoff spot. This feels like a healthy compromise to some of the ideas thrown out in Lowe's piece.
5. Get rid of the draft
This is extreme and would require a complete overhaul of both the salary structure and talent acquisition rules. This discussion is too long for this space, but just know that I would be totally on board for this.
As always, I want to update everyone on some of the new things on the site. First up on the moments list, we are up to #82 now, which involves Larry Bird and was posted Friday morning. With every post we inch closer and closer to the top and to the moments that really define the league we all love. We also have posted seven more entries on our greatest players list.
#37, Steve Nash
#51, Paul Arizin
#124, Yao Ming
#166, Kyrie Irving
#177, Carlos Boozer
#199, Vlade Divac
#253, Zydrunas Ilgauskas
#285, Dick Van Arsdale
I am writing this on a Friday afternoon and tonight the varsity team I help coach is playing in the district championship game against the team that beat us at this stage last year. I think we are going to win, but if we do not it has been such a fun season. Getting to see this group coalesce both on and off the court has been incredibly rewarding. We have a group of guys ranging from 14-18 years old that are from all different backgrounds. The bond they have built is inspiring. Here is to us getting a win tonight, and you better believe that I will provide an update next week.