Friday, May 18, 2007

NBA Playoffs Seeding Idea

I have an idea for improving the seeding in the NBA playoffs. In the first round let the team with the best record pick their opponent from the other 7 teams in their conference. Then proceed to the team with the next highest record and have them pick their opponent from the remaining 5 teams. Repeat as needed to complete the first round matchups. Repeat again for the later rounds.

I'm certainly no Mavericks apologist, but, didn't they earn the right to not play Golden State in the first round if they didn't want to? The intent of legislating 1 vs 8 is to provide them with the matchup that is to their best advantage. However, the Mavericks probably wouldn't have picked Golden State since Nellie's had their number all year. Another interesting possibility is that a top team might choose to take on another top team if they have significant short term injuries - say Duncan was out for the first round. Would Dallas or Phoenix choose to play San Antonio in the first round? Either way it would probably lead to much good discussion.

The main point I've heard against this idea is that teams 4-8 would have nothing to play for. I can think of 5 things they have to play for:

  1. Pride - simple as that
  2. The likelihood that most #1 seeds would pick #8, and #2s pick #7, etc.
  3. Maybe #1 will pick #2 and #3 will pick #4. Then #5 would get their pick of the rest. Not likely, but, you never know.
  4. Similar to #3, what if 5-8 beat 1-4 in the first round. Then #5 would have their pick of the rest.
  5. #7 & #8 are probably fighting off #9 & #10 just for the right to make the playoffs.
Another problem with this idea is that all the games (in a conference) from the first round would have to be complete before the second round could begin. This scheduling inflexibility is not TV friendly.

I sent this idea to Henry Abbott at ESPN/TrueHoop. He liked it and posted it. I also sent the idea to The Basketball Jones and they liked it enough to talk about it in the show (12 minutes in).

What do you think?

1 comment:

fullcourt said...


The only downside is that there is too much confusion with matchups and seedings, but I think the NBA has already done that with creating 6 divisions.

The fact that Dallas, a 67win team, had to face the ONLY team in the regular season to sweep them puts them at a disadvantage. remember that GSW was not rightfully a #8 seed. They only performed to their full potential once everyone was healthy and were only blessed by the 8-man trade by midseason. They could have easily become a #4 team or something. Tough luck for the MAvs.

Another problem is that like you mentioned, teams 5-8 have nothing to play for. Maybe team 5 has soemthing to play for because they are the closest to getting the number 4 seed, maybe they can fight for it until the last day to see who gets the number 4 seed. I don't know.

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