Proposed NBA Changes for 2021-2022


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I tried finding this on the boards, but couldn't. My apologies if is a repost or already been discussed.

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2019/11/23/nbas-proposed-schedule-playoff-format-changes-explained/

 

For those that don't want to click...here is the article below by the WaPo. I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts on a revised schedule, mid-season tournament a la FA Cup, and playoff changes.

 

After years of publicly toying with major changes to his league’s schedule and postseason format, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is reportedly eyeing three initiatives that could be implemented in time for the 2021-22 season.

 

Silver and the National Basketball Players Association are discussing a playoff reseeding format, a new midseason tournament and a play-in round for playoff bubble teams that, together, would reduce the length of the 82-game regular season to 78 or 79 games, according to ESPN.

 

The following is a look at how those changes, which reportedly need to be approved before a Board of Governors meeting in April, would work, why the NBA is interested in each one and whether the league should move forward with any of them.

 

Reseeding the playoffs

How it would work: The NBA would rank the four conference finalists, one through four, based on their regular season record, thereby setting its “Final Four” matchups based on performance rather than conference designation.

 

Why pursue this change: Since Michael Jordan’s second retirement in 1998, the NBA has had a serious imbalance between the conferences, with the West primarily being far stronger than the East. This playoff reseeding proposal would maximize the chances that the two best teams would meet in the NBA Finals, the league’s premier showcase, rather than in either of the conference finals.

 

As one recent example, the Golden State Warriors (58 wins) needed seven games to defeat the Houston Rockets (65 wins) in the 2018 Western Conference finals, then went on to sweep the Cleveland Cavaliers (50 wins) in the NBA Finals. If the new format had been implemented, Houston would have been the top seed, Golden State would have been the second seed, the Boston Celtics (55 wins) would have been the third seed, and Cleveland would have been fourth. If the favorites had won, Houston and Golden State would have squared off in the Finals, and the longer (and more competitive) series would have almost certainly translated to greater interest and more television revenue.

 

This proposal is a clean compromise when compared with the more radical idea of reseeding all 16 playoff teams, regardless of conference, before the playoffs start. Silver has expressed concern about the travel logistics in such a scenario, given that the NBA’s postseason format consists of four best-of-seven rounds. Under this proposal, regional matchups with less burdensome travel would be preserved through the first two rounds.

 

Verdict: The NBA should do this. Clinging to the West-vs.-East tradition is not worth sacrificing the best possible Finals matchup. This is a minor alteration with a potentially major payoff for all parties, including the fans.

Midseason tournament

How it would work: The NBA would host an in-season tournament involving all 30 teams between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

 

Why pursue this change: Silver has devoted significant time and thought to positioning the NBA within the wider entertainment landscape, especially as attention spans become shorter and viewing habits shift away from traditional cable television subscriptions.

Sports Media Watch reported last week that the NBA’s early-season television numbers were down on ESPN and TNT. There are numerous possible explanations: Many of the big-market teams in the East are not good this season; some viewers are choosing to follow the league solely through social media rather than watching full games; and others may be tuning out because of the absence of major stars given injuries or “load management” — the strategic resting of players to preserve their long-term health.

 

While the NBA has made rule changes to shorten the length of its games and attempted to prevent teams from resting completely healthy players for games on national television, it is clearly seeking a more dramatic method of generating interest. The timing of the proposed tournament would avoid conflicts with major domestic competitors such as the NCAA tournament and the NFL playoffs, and it would unfold well before All-Star Weekend and the trade deadline.

 

A midseason tournament would give non-contenders the opportunity to win a meaningful prize. There are usually only a handful of teams that can reasonably expect to win a title, and the NBA recently completed a run in which the same two teams — Golden State and Cleveland — met in the Finals four straight times. Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards, for example, enter this season knowing they have no shot at the championship, but it’s conceivable that their high-scoring offense could get hot for a few weeks and prevail in a winter tournament.

 

 

In addition to offering a carrot to second-tier and third-tier teams, the tournament would provide a new method for monetizing regular season games through sponsorship deals. Silver has long expressed his admiration for professional soccer’s ability to juggle league play with tournaments and cups that create added visibility and revenue.

 

Verdict: Meh. It’s easy to envision many teams — especially veteran teams preparing for deep playoff runs — not taking the tournament seriously, which could turn the idea into a novelty. At the same time, there’s not much downside to re-branding a segment of regular season games as cup games.

 

Playoff play-In

How it would work: At the end of the regular season, the seventh, eighth, ninth and 10th seeds in each conference would do battle for the final two playoff spots. The seventh seed would play the eighth seed, with the winner claiming the seventh spot. Then, the ninth seed would play the 10th seed, with the loser being eliminated. Finally, the loser of the first game would play the winner of the second game for the eighth spot.

 

Why pursue this change: Tanking has been a long-standing eyesore for the NBA, which Silver has sought to address by flattening the league’s lottery odds to dissuade teams from racing to lose as many games as possible. The play-in tournament would support those efforts by encouraging teams on the playoff bubble to continue competing rather than shut down early, while adding intrigue to the launch of the postseason.

 

The sheer length of the 82-game schedule has left some teams eliminated from the playoffs with weeks, or even months, left to play. As a result, many of those teams have sought to rest their best players and develop their young prospects to improve their draft lottery positioning. In some cases, such as “the Process” orchestrated by the Philadelphia 76ers, teams have undertaken multiyear efforts that disregarded winning in favor of competing for top draft talent. In others, respectable teams come up short and are forced to play out the string with weeks of meaningless games.

 

Last year, the four play-in teams in the East would have been the Detroit Pistons, Charlotte Hornets, Miami Heat and Washington Wizards. In the West, they would have been the San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Clippers, Sacramento Kings and Los Angeles Lakers. The gap between the East teams was only a matter of three wins, and a headline-grabbing upset easily could have occurred. In the West, the Lakers would have had the chance to salvage a season lost to LeBron James’s groin injury. Without the play-in tournament as a lure, Los Angeles rested its franchise player for the entire month of April.

 

Opponents of the play-in tournament have argued that it devalues the regular season because the seventh and eighth seeds must jump through extra hoops to claim playoff spots they had earned. Should a six-month body of work really be overshadowed by two make-or-break contests? The NBA has apparently appeased those voices by building in a layer of protection for the seventh and eighth seeds: a team in one of those slots would need to lose both play-in games, rather than just one, to be bumped from the playoffs.

 

Verdict: Sure, as long as it’s not the only change. It’s not worth scrapping the decades of history baked into the NBA’s traditional 82-game schedule simply to add a play-in tournament. But if the NBA and NBPA can reach agreement on multiple schedule changes, this could be an effective way to shake up the tanking landscape and give hope to fans of bubble teams.

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Thing new! Fun when thing new. 

If you're getting rid of the Eastern vs. Western Conference for the playoffs, how do you determine "Conference Champions"? If they're just going to be seeded by record (regardless of conference),

The division-winner thing only is fine and makes sense... for amateur sports where the games aren't played for the purpose of charging people hundreds of dollars to provide entertainment.   

I love the idea of shortening the season.  The 82-game schedule has no particular merit; it is far from sacrosanct.  But to go down to 78 games is not much of a shortening.  And, when you add in the mid-season tournament, the season would be just as long as it had previously been. 

 

Last week someone in the other thread offered the opinion that the NBA season shouldn't start until Christmas.  While that is a bit extreme, I'd say that it should start around Thanksgiving.  This would eliminate almost 20 games per team.  A 60-ish-game season would be just fine. 

 

Adding more teams to the playoffs sounds like it is a case of watering down the playoffs; but a play-in round amounts to a bye for the more legit qualifiers.  Likewise, when the NFL brought in the second wild card in 1978, it improved the playoffs by creating a wild card round, and thereby giving a bye to the division winners.  (But when it brought in a third wild card in 1990, it watered down the playoffs by relegating one division winner to the level of the wild card teams.)

 

12 minutes ago, agentrygraphics said:

Opponents of the play-in tournament have argued that it devalues the regular season because the seventh and eighth seeds must jump through extra hoops to claim playoff spots they had earned. Should a six-month body of work really be overshadowed by two make-or-break contests?

 

The idea that a team finishing seventh to tenth in its conference has "earned" anything is kind of silly.  Such a team is in the playoffs only to make up the numbers. And the more obstacles to the advancement of such teams (in other words: the more weighting of the playoffs in favour of the legitimate participants), the better

 

But, to be honest, I would like to see a playoff format that doesn't include those bottom teams at all.  The best playoff format for the NBA would be the simplest, the one the NFL had from 1978 through 1989: in each conference invite only the three division winners and two wild card teams.  The wild card teams play a mid-week best-of-three play-in series (all games at the home of the higher seed); and then the wild card winner in each conference joins the the three divisional champions in the conference semi-finals.  The entire playoffs would take three weeks, and would be done in early May.  Best of all, these meritorious playoffs would enhance the importance of the regular season.

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18 minutes ago, DG_Now said:

He wouldn't be playing in a midseason tournament anyway. It would be all G-League guys anyway.

 

The idea is fun. But unless there's a reason for players to play in it, it's not going to live up to expectations.

Exactly. Players don’t want it. And teams won’t care outside of the extra revenue. Also the tournament will basically punish what ever teams perform better by making them play more games. I could see a team like the clippers trying to lose to rest their players. And if it’s instead just gonna be G League players why not just have a G league playoff if there isn’t already.

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Shortening the regular season to 78 games is not enough. I'm in favor of a 66-game regular season. We got to experience this back in 2011-2012 because of the lockout and I thought it was great. The games meant more because of playoff implications and it was also nice to see opening night on Christmas.

 

With 16 few regular season games per team, there would plenty of room for a mid-season tournament (making up for lost revenue) and and it would shorten the W-L gap between the 7-10 seeds, making a play-in tourney a little more intriguing. The season could still start around Halloween, with the proposed mid-season tourney starting around Thanksgiving, and then Christmas Day would be when the season officially resumes.

 

I like the proposal for re-seeding the Conference Finals, just rebrand them as the "NBA Semifinals" and the two Finals teams would hold the title of "Semifinal Champions". Or better yet, just do away with Conferences altogether and just seed the playoffs from 1-16. But I know they won't do that because of travel issues. I also think they should adopt the NHL's playoff format, while bringing back the four-division format we used to have pre-2004.

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11 hours ago, Tracy Jordan said:

Shortening the regular season to 78 games is not enough. I'm in favor of a 66-game regular season. We got to experience this back in 2011-2012 because of the lockout and I thought it was great. The games meant more because of playoff implications and it was also nice to see opening night on Christmas.

 

With 16 few regular season games per team, there would plenty of room for a mid-season tournament (making up for lost revenue) and and it would shorten the W-L gap between the 7-10 seeds, making a play-in tourney a little more intriguing. The season could still start around Halloween, with the proposed mid-season tourney starting around Thanksgiving, and then Christmas Day would be when the season officially resumes.

 

I like the proposal for re-seeding the Conference Finals, just rebrand them as the "NBA Semifinals" and the two Finals teams would hold the title of "Semifinal Champions". Or better yet, just do away with Conferences altogether and just seed the playoffs from 1-16. But I know they won't do that because of travel issues. I also think they should adopt the NHL's playoff format, while bringing back the four-division format we used to have pre-2004.

No mid season tournament. There is literally no reason for it from a players perspective. Virtually none from a team perspective other than $$$ but when you are already reducing the number of games what’s the point. I want them to reduce the number of games but if that means adding a pointless tournament I’ll pass.

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1 hour ago, Red Comet said:

 

Maybe have the winning team win the right to host All-Star game the next time it's available to be hosted?

 

You think that'll make the players want to risk injury to play in it?  Half the teams don't even want to host the ASG.

 

6 hours ago, dont care said:

No mid season tournament. There is literally no reason for it from a players perspective. Virtually none from a team perspective other than $$$ but when you are already reducing the number of games what’s the point. I want them to reduce the number of games but if that means adding a pointless tournament I’ll pass.

 

I also don't see the point of it.  It'll just turn into a "summer league" type thing, only in the middle of the season.  The good players will rest, while the G-league guys play.

 

On 11/27/2019 at 6:31 PM, AustinFomBoston said:

If you're getting rid of the Eastern vs. Western Conference for the playoffs, how do you determine "Conference Champions"?

If they're just going to be seeded by record (regardless of conference), what's even the point of having the Conferences anymore? 

 

Does it matter?  Other than having a banner, it's not that big a thing, other than it signifies that you played in the finals that year.  I kinda like the idea of a "Final Four", and interesting semi-final matchups.  Is it totally necessary?  No.  Would I like to see it on a 2 or 3 season trial?  Yep.

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I'm not even a fan of the NBA. But if it means the best teams play in the finals, have at it. I think every league should start ditching divisions to start with. They were only put in place years ago to reduce travel expenses. The MLS model is where I think every major pro league in North America should go to.

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Honestly, the NBA should abolish conferences and divisions all together. What I would propose would be a 66 game schedule, in which everyone plays each other home and away once each (58 games) and current divisional teams play each other an extra home and away set (+8 games) to help promote local rivalries and save travel costs as opposed to a rotating slate of 4-game series between teams. In my opinion, the NBA should just go to a double round-robin, but I doubt they’d cut out that many games. 

 

The idea of a midseason tournament is stupid. If stars aren’t playing and it doesn’t really mean that much to teams, no one will watch. 

 

A play-in game could work. The playoffs already have too many teams as is. Without conferences, have the top-twelve teams make it. #9 play #12, #10 play #11, the winners face #7 and #8, and then proceed to the standard best of 7 series. These could be quick series that would give the top teams a pseudo bye-week yet would be between good teams with winning records. This would be meaningful to fans of these teams more so than an in-season tournament. Does this fix the tanking problem? No, but it adds a wildcard round that people would watch. 

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I propose a geographic alignment, probably based on East and West geographic divisions because that makes the most sense. Then I would subdivide those two conferences into smaller geographic divisons for ease of travel and regional rivalries.

 

I'd then focus a schedule that prioritized inter-conference games first, though allows for each conference team a home-and-home opportunity with the other conference.

 

For playoffs, I'd choose the top teams in each conference, about the top 8 or so, and have them play best of seven series to choose two conference winners. Then the champions of each conference would play each other in a championship series.

 

82 regular season games seems about the reasonable amount to make this all work. Plus playoffs. Simple and elegant. Everything else is just Calvinball.

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2 hours ago, DG_Now said:

I propose a geographic alignment, probably based on East and West geographic divisions because that makes the most sense. Then I would subdivide those two conferences into smaller geographic divisons for ease of travel and regional rivalries.

 

I'd then focus a schedule that prioritized inter-conference games first, though allows for each conference team a home-and-home opportunity with the other conference.

 

For playoffs, I'd choose the top teams in each conference, about the top 8 or so, and have them play best of seven series to choose two conference winners. Then the champions of each conference would play each other in a championship series.

 

82 regular season games seems about the reasonable amount to make this all work. Plus playoffs. Simple and elegant. Everything else is just Calvinball.

🤣🤣🤣

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4 hours ago, DG_Now said:

I propose a geographic alignment, probably based on East and West geographic divisions because that makes the most sense. Then I would subdivide those two conferences into smaller geographic divisons for ease of travel and regional rivalries.

 

I'd then focus a schedule that prioritized inter-conference games first, though allows for each conference team a home-and-home opportunity with the other conference.

 

For playoffs, I'd choose the top teams in each conference, about the top 8 or so, and have them play best of seven series to choose two conference winners. Then the champions of each conference would play each other in a championship series.

 

82 regular season games seems about the reasonable amount to make this all work. Plus playoffs. Simple and elegant. Everything else is just Calvinball.

 

82 games is way too much.  Good teams don't care about each individual game, so they just rest guys who aren't hurt, which screws the fans.  If the teams themselves don't care then why should I?  Both NHL and NBA were most exciting during their respective lockout seasons, when they had like 50-game seasons.  Even the playoffs are too long.  The best-of-seven first round really drags things out (that TV drives the schedules doesn't help things either.)

 

I'm curious how much travel the current division/conference alignment really saves.  I was surprised to see how few games teams actually played against their division and conference rivals.  I'd like to see the math on an alignment where it's just divisions, and no conferences.  So there would be 8 divisions.  Divisions would then be seeded based on relative strength (overall winning percentage, or something like that.)  Top 2 in each division played a "division championship" series.  Then, based on the predetermined seeding, they just play out the tournament.

 

Just to avoid the whole "regular-season division champions" nonsense, the league could decide to only acknowledge the winner of the division-playoff as the true division champion.

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The smallest amount you could reasonably do is 70. That's a home and home against every team in the league (58 games), plus a total of four home-and-homes against each team in your division (12 additional).

 

I like basketball, so I don't mind the 12 additional games.

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