The days of coming home in the springtime and watching teams with losing records battle it out in a playoff game could be coming to an end.
According to NBA commissioner Adam Silver, the league will continue to look at reseeding the top 16 teams in the NBA at the end of the regular season. That seeding would be much like the NCAA tournament in that the best teams would simply make it to the playoffs regardless of conference or coast.
Silver said that a reseeding into a 1 through 16 format would also necessitate the NBA looking at a more balanced schedule, as well as an overall analysis at how many games the teams play during the regular season.
As it stands now, teams play more often within their own conference and division. Teams have taken to resting players more often, which the league will try to combat in the coming season. Reducing the number of games or lengthening the season could also be in play.
“I think though it would require revisiting the regular-season schedule as well. As I’ve said before, we don’t play a balanced schedule now, as I’m sure you know. And for those that don’t, that means that teams in the East play each other more than they play teams in the West. And our feeling is, if we were going to seed 1-16, we would need to play a balanced schedule to make it fair for everyone if we were going to seed 1-16 in the playoffs. It may be that as we continue to experiment with the number of days over which we can schedule 82 games that it will create more of an opportunity for a balanced schedule.”
“Let me add to that I said the other day [to USA Today] that there’s no magic in an 82-game season,” Silver said. “It’s not a change you’re going to see in the short term, but I think when we step back and look holistically at our schedule and how playoffs are seeded we should look at the entire format. Counter-balancing seeding playoff teams 1-16 is also the desire to create more rest for our players and when possible reduce the amount of travel.
“In adding the extra week to the regular season this year, we will be able to eliminate completely four games in five nights. I think it’s the first time in the history of the league we were able to do that. Plus we have back to backs at an all-time low. If we took the existing format, the existing schedule and then we seeded playoffs 1-16, we’d be adding additional travel; you would have teams criss-crossing the country in the first round.”
There are arguments for and against reseeding the teams for the playoffs, and teams are always wary of losing gate traffic for games themselves. Still, the league disappoints many fans and detriments their overall product when they don’t put the best teams on the floor for the playoffs. As the game becomes more marketable both domestically and abroad, perhaps direct geographic interest will not play as big a factor as previously thought. Then again, I doubt this ever comes to fruition. It could be nothing more than lip service to satiate the folks who are very into this idea.