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NBA 2017-18: A Tale of Two Conferences

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24 minutes ago, DG_Now said:

Is Ben Simmons with Klutch?

 

Maybe LeBron goes to Philadelphia -- it'd be a good fit -- but I think this is more repping his sports talent agency (which is clearly totally normal no its not).

Yes and yes

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On 2018-02-16 at 4:54 PM, DG_Now said:

No one pays attention to the NHL and the NBA's chief cultural comparison is the NFL. By the NFL's standards of cultural ineptness, the NBA is a refreshing.

The NFL? The second league that adopted and abandoned the “draft” ASG format before the NBA adopted it?

 

As far as the NHL goes? 

Granted, the NHL is run by idiots and/or criminals, but the NBA is getting far more credit as a “fun” league than it deserves.

And no, I’m not talking about the “should we celebrate benign and fun brands or not?” discussion. 

 

I just don’t see how a league playing to see who gets to lose 4 games to 1 to the Warriors in the Finals is particularly compelling. 

It’s a damn shame that no one’s paying attention to the NHL. If they did then might see a competitive and compelling league, at least as far as the on-ice product goes. 

 

And hey. I don’t like the fact that I came into the NBA thread to rain on everyone’s parade, but when everyone collectively forgets that the NHL did a thing people are tripping over themselves to praise the NBA for? And when the NBA fans react to this fact being pointed out with “lol hockey sucks”? 

 

Well that makes me feel a bit better re: the parade raining. 

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1 hour ago, DG_Now said:

Is Ben Simmons with Klutch?

 

Maybe LeBron goes to Philadelphia -- it'd be a good fit -- but I think this is more repping his sports talent agency (which is clearly totally normal no its not).

Simmons is with Klutch as they gave his sister, Emily, a job four years ago.

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I'm as big a LeBron defender as anyone, but it's really weird that he (kinda) owns a sports agency and has active clients in the same league he plays. Everyone just pretends it's not happening.

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3 hours ago, DG_Now said:

Is Ben Simmons with Klutch?

 

Maybe LeBron goes to Philadelphia -- it'd be a good fit -- but I think this is more repping his sports talent agency (which is clearly totally normal no its not).

 

“June 30 midnight” - that’s the key part. I’m sure it’s just Simmons and embiid having fun (embiid tweeted recruitment bids to him last time around too) but from what I’m reading, James genuinely really likes both of them and does want to someday play with Simmons. I would think it stunts both of their careers if he joins, but what do I know?

 

#trusttheprocess

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9 hours ago, kimball said:

 

I feel like it's unnecessary to expand the playoff field beyond the current 16-team format. This proposal would add another four teams (I don't care if they call it a play-in tournament, it still technically counts as playoff round) which would bring the total to 20 out of 30 teams playing in the postseason. Do we really want to reward teams that are as many as ten games under .500 with an opportunity to play a few extra games? Not to mention that the payoffs last like two months which is way too long as it is.

 

Here's my idea for a new playoff format that would add significant excitement to the early rounds while shortening the entire postseason by about a week or so, which would allow more room for the NBA to balance out the regular season schedule. Everything would stay exactly the same except the first round would be split into two shorter rounds. The top two teams in each conference would automatically qualify for the conference semifinals and each round would play out like this:

 

Round 1

8th seed plays 5th seed in a best-of-3 series (winner advances to face 4th seed)

7th seed plays 6th seed in a best-of-3 series (winner advances to face 3rd seed)

 

Round 2

5th or 8th seed plays 4th seed in a best-of-3 series (winner advances to face 1st or 2nd seed)

6th or 7th seed plays 3rd seed in a best of 3-series (winner advances to face 1st or 2nd seed)

 

Conference Semifinals

Lowest remaining seed plays 1st seed in a best-of-7 series

Highest remaining seed plays 2nd seed in a best-of-7 series

 

Conference Finals

Best-of-7 series

 

NBA Finals

Best-of-7 series

 

This would shorten early round schedule, with a maximum of six games being played by the lower seeds before the conference semis, and would eliminate the potential for those boring four-game early round sweeps that we see every year. I love the idea of having the bottom four seeds of each conference battling it out and moving on to face the next two highest seeds. And with a best-of-three format, you're getting rid of the weaker teams much more quickly while also giving those 7th and 8th seeds a better chance of pulling off an upset. The top four seeds in each conference would get a few extra days of rest as well, with the top two seeds not having to play for two weeks. I'm sure a team like Golden State would welcome not having to play an extra series.

 

The most obvious downside to this format would be the way it would affect the league's revenue. The current playoff format allows for a minimum of 24 games (56 max) to be played during the first round. This new format would shorten that minimum to 16 games total (24 max). The TV partners, and more importantly the owners, would have a hard time agreeing to such a significantly reduced schedule. But, if shaking things up meant getting more fan interest and adding a little more excitement to the early rounds, I think it would be worth it in the long run.

 

 

EDIT: Just for the heck of it, here's what this proposed format would look like using the current NBA standings:

 

West 1st Round-

#5 Oklahoma City vs #8 New Orleans

#6 Denver vs #7 Portland

 

East 1st Round-

#5 Indiana vs #8 Miami

#6 Milwaukee vs #7 Philadelphia

 

West 2nd Round-

OKC/NO vs Minnesota

DEN/POR vs San Antonio

 

East 2nd Round-

IND/MIA vs Washington

MIL/PHI vs Cleveland

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Sorry @Tracy Jordan

 

Your plan looks very Aussie Rules like, but you've rewarded $hitty teams with more playoff games and potential revenue.

 

Franchises still desire home games as those parking/concessions margins often tip the ledger to profitability.  A #1 seed won't accept a maximum of eight home games if they sweep.

 

Golden State would like extra games of revenue to pay for that new building. The GameDay staff would like those extra hours but you cut people's $$$ on the good squads by at least 25%! Happy?

 

Your suggestion would give lesser seeds three home games before a 1/2 seed even plays.  You've must then give the lesser seed just games 1&6  or 2&6 in a seven game series as their poor regular season performance does not require any equity.

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All of your points are completely valid, @dfwabel

 

As I stated before, it would have a huge effect on the league's/owner's revenue for the exact reasons you pointed out. And yes, technically speaking the bottom 12 teams would be playing at least two or three more games (no more than six) before the top four teams begin playing under this format. However, I will argue that lower seeds wouldn't necessarily benefit from more home games. Here is the maximum amount of home games each seed could play:

 

Maximum amount of home games per seed (excluding the NBA Finals)

#1 seed- 8 games / 12 under current format

#2 seed- 8 games / 12 under current format

#3 seed- 9 games / 11 under current format

#4 seed- 9 games / 11 under current format

#5 seed- 10 games / 10 under current format

#6 seed- 10 games / 10 under current format

#7 seed- 9 games / 10 under current format

#8 seed- 8 games / 9 under current format

 

Everyone would lose potential home games, not just the top teams. Realistically, we almost never see a 5th seed or worse actually make it to the Conf. Finals. A 7th or 8th seed is not getting all the way to the Finals either. It's basically impossible for the lower seeded teams to play more home games than a team like Golden State even in this format. I'm simply advocating for a way to eliminate the weaker teams much more quickly while still making the early rounds a bit more competitive.

 

2 hours ago, dfwabel said:

 

 

Your suggestion would give lesser seeds three home games before a 1/2 seed even plays.  You've must then give the lesser seed just games 1&6  or 2&6 in a seven game series as their poor regular season performance does not require any equity.

 

Let me put it this way. Under the current playoff format, 99% of the time an 8th seed is going to play no more than two home games (by losing 4-1 or 4-0 in the first round). Under my proposed format, that same 8th seed would have to beat a 5th seed and advance just to get to two home games (the lower seed would only get one in a best-of-3). So this format would basically eliminate at least one home playoff game for the bottom four teams each year, while reducing the length of each first round series.

 

Now granted, a team like the Warriors would be losing at least two home games in this format, but the trade-off would be that they get an extra BYE week and wouldn't have to waste their time putting away an 8th seed in four games and risk losing a star player to an injury. But I get it, the team would lose that extra revenue and having two weeks off is probably way too much. My idea is far from perfect. But I'm looking at it from a competitive standpoint and not a revenue standpoint. The Warriors smoked everyone in the Western Conference last year and only played a total of six home games during the first three rounds. They went 16-1 overall. They played a Blazers team in the first round that had no chance. Why should they have to waste their time playing a team they can easily beat and why should fans have to go through the motions of pretending that an 8th seed has a shot to upset a 1 seed when it's only happened like four times in NBA history? There's got to be a way to make the first round more compelling and less predictable than it currently is.

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Play-in game is an awful idea. Awful. It's awful in baseball, it would be awful in the NBA. 2011 was the perfect storm and instead of just letting the moment be MLB just had to try and crowbar the same scenario into every season since.

 

The only sort of NBA playoff reform and/or realignment I'd support is a move back to 4 divisions (possibly after an expansion to 32 teams, enough talent has come into the league in the past few years to make this viable from a talent standpoint), but the 4 teams in each division get a guaranteed playoff berth and play each other off in their division before moving on to conference and league finals.

 

People like to throw around the 16-teams-no-conferences idea and say 'stop rewarding bad teams!' because it sounds nice and fuzzy and righteous, but nobody is considering the real consequences that would come with it. Travel would be miserable if teams on opposite coasts get stuck with each other from the get-go, or especially in consecutive rounds. Imagine the Lakers or Clippers getting stuck with Miami in one round and then Boston the next round. The fan interest in (former) playoff-caliber teams in the lesser conference would take a hit down the stretch, because they've gone from being on the bubble to out of contention, while the teams in the superior conference that would benefit from the rule change are unaffected - they were already in the hunt. The teams whose playoff berths are at stake are probably just going to get mopped by the top-seeded Goliath anyway, so what's the difference? You're just rearranging the deck chairs.

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Also, playoff games are big money. No sane owner would consent to having their possible home playoff dates cut. If anything needs to be trimmed it's the regular season, but again, revenue.

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Bill Simmons is annoyingly all-in on changing the playoff format, and I have to think that some of this talk is coming from the nerd-ification of NBA fandom. And yes, I am one.

 

I think people are confusing the Eastern Conference of 10 years ago with the East of today. Yes, it's a bad look for a 37-win team to make the playoffs, but that won't happen this year. Also, if anything, the NBA really needs to do more to boost superstars playing in the East. It's a gift that LeBron has been there as long as he has, and he's also no fool; he knows it's an easier trip to the Finals. He alone creates another barrier to good players joining the East, but it's not like he'll be there forever.

 

It seems irresponsible to let an entire conference rot for the sake of 1.) being a nerd and 2.) dumb notions of basketball purity. And, clearly, unnecessary cross-country travel is killer and should be dismissed out of hand.

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Watching my team lose after playing their best game in sometime without a superstar is quite annoying. The Warriors are unfair man.

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2 hours ago, DG_Now said:

Bill Simmons is annoyingly all-in on changing the playoff format

 

I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir here but Bill Simmons is a short-sighted dick. I could respect him if he were just a mad scientist type like Nate Silver who was a little too prone to going down rabbit holes, but the extent of his logical reasoning capability is "who says no" and his playbook consists of appeals to emotion and promises of utopia. Then again people who watch/listen to notable sports personalities or any kind of mainstream media gobble up appeals to emotion and promises of utopia like Artie Lange goes to town on a Sicilian pizza, so maybe I'm the dope for not seeing the con.

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The second part of Bill Simmons' reasoning is generally how it helps the Celtics. But I'm still a fan. I like a lot of his analysis and I think he's more right on the NBA than not. And some of his podcast guests (Lowe, Morey, Durant, Harallabob) can be pretty good.

 

But I really do hate the I'M SO BORED genre of sports reporting/opining. I get that watching basketball professionally can feel like a slog, but it's also pretty awesome so shut up. And outside of being bored, I really don't know what problem complicating the NBA Playoffs is really solving.

 

The better solution, in my opinion, is a single-elimination FA Cup style tournament that includes the G League. But I also recognize that I'm just playing fantasy commissioner like everyone else.

 

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Reminding me the of 07-08 Warriors could get me on the "top 16" side. 

 

went 48-34 and missed the playoffs. Would have been the 4 seed in the East

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I hope all you non-Minnesota fans appreciate what you have.  The Timberwolves playoff drought just got extended by a decade.

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