Wednesday, September 9, 2015

NBA Makes Playoff Change ... Now Let's Scrap Divisions

The NBA has decided to seed playoff teams according to record and not if they are division champions.  This means that a division champion with a poor record could end up as an 8th seed.

Moving in the right direction.

The next step is just eliminating divisions altogether.

While I understand the point of divisions in sports and even like when some leagues add or subtract divisions, they are pointless right now in the NBA.  The NBA divisions do really nothing for the sport.  In the NFL, NHL and MLB divisions do greatly impact scheduling so keeping them is important.  In the NBA, there is no scheduling advantage going on.  Western Conference teams all play pretty much the same schedule.  You play each Eastern Conference team twice, 10 Western teams four times and four Western teams three times.  So why have divisions?

I've been trumpeting this for years.  Even sports media thumb their noses at the NBA division format.  I mean, when have you really ever seen SportsCenter show you the Atlantic Division standings?  Rarely, if ever.  But the Eastern Conference standings are up there.

In the NFL, a division winner is guaranteed a home playoff game.  You also play each fellow division team twice and you don't do so against anyone else.  In the NHL, you play a weighted division schedule.  In the playoffs, the division winners get favorable matchups.  In baseball, division winners are in the postseason with wildcard teams having a one-game playoff to join them.  Also in baseball, schedules are heavily weighted for divisions.

In the NBA, weighted scheduling doesn't really work.  Do we need more Clippers-Lakers game at the expense of Cavaliers-Heat games?  It really isn't what the NBA wants.  If so, they could force division foes to face off 5 times apiece and non-division conference opponents 3 times apiece, then play the teams that finished at the same division finish as you in the other two divisions a fourth time.  But the NBA doesn't do that.  They like how it is due to the more favorable matchups they get (Spurs-Lakers in the day, Heat-Cavs),

So let's dump the divisions and just go 1 thru 15 in the conference.  We're doing that anyway.