Monday, May 7, 2018

What would the NBA playoffs look like if we eliminated conference format

I'm one of those guys who feel that the NBA needs to just ditch the conference format for the playoffs and just seed the best teams 1 through 16 in the postseason. Why? Well, we get the Rockets and Warriors in the Western Conference Finals and not for the championship. Geography shouldn't be a factor to how the playoffs should happen.  We can work around that in 2018.

So what would the 2018 postseason look like if we did it that way?  Well, one thing happened: the Nuggets would qualify for the postseason while the Wizards would not. Let's look at what the matchups would be:

1-Houston Rockets (65-17) vs 16-Milwaukee Bucks (44-38)
2-Toronto Raptors (59-23) vs 15-Miami Heat (44-38)
3-Golden State Warriors (58-24) vs 14-Denver Nuggets (46-36)
4-Boston Celtics (55-27) vs 13-Minnesota Timberwolves (47-35)
5-Philadelphia 76ers (52-30) vs 12-San Antonio Spurs (47-35)
6-Cleveland Cavaliers (50-32) vs 11-New Orleans Pelicans (48-34)
7-Portland Trailblazers (49-33) vs 10-Indiana Pacers (48-34)
8-Oklahoma City Thunder (48-34) vs 9-Utah Jazz (48-34)

Under the new format, five of the eight series would be what we consider to be inter-conference games. But they aren't horrible travel situations. Houston-Milwaukee? That's not bad. Neither is Cleveland-New Orleans. Boston-Minnesota is far, but is it much, much worse than the Celtics' real matchup against Milwaukee? Portland-Indiana would be the toughest, but it still isn't a Portland-Miami series.

Just adding and guessing who would advance to the second round, we'd have:

1-Houston vs 9-Utah
2-Toronto vs 10-Indiana
3-Golden State vs 6-Cleveland
4-Boston vs 5-Philadelphia

Okay, we get the Rockets-Jazz and Celtics-Sixers series anyway. Toronto-Indiana would be pretty good.  But look at Golden State and Cleveland.  Second round.  That's how it would play out and we'd get an epic series right then.

Advancing to the semifinals
1-Houston vs 4-Boston
2-Toronto vs 3-Golden State