In recent years, the NBA’s division system has come under criticism. In particular, the fact that division winners are guaranteed a top-four seed regardless of record has become a point of contention. This year, the rule impacted the seeding in the Western Conference playoffs. The Blazers got the fourth seed despite having the sixth-best record in the conference, because they won the Northwest Division. In recent weeks, Adam Silver has hinted that the league might change the rule going forward, and USA Today‘s Jeff Zillgitt reports that that plan is still a go.
There’s no reason not to do this — the only purpose divisions really serve at this point is to make scheduling easier. The teams with the eight best records should have the top eight seeds, in order. Short of eliminating conferences and seeding the teams 1-16, which is still an extreme proposition, this is a no-brainer move, and it’s great that the league is open to change on things like this.