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NBA Playoff Format


Gregmond

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Instead of playing an Eastern and Western conference championship series, the NBA should consider a cross-over round where the top team in the East plays the second team in the West and vice versa. This would ensure that the two best teams would meet in the league championship series regardless which conference they happen to play in.

I cannot see any problem with this notion ... as the East & West are not distinctive leagues like they are in baseball. Does the finals series NEED to include one team from each conference ... wouldn't it be more climactic and exciting if it were simply the two BEST teams?!

Any thoughts?

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I don't see the need why the NBA should split up conferences for the playoffs. The better team usually wins in the end anyways. At least the NBA have a playoff format where there is a true champion, unlike college football where there are co-champions and controversies every other year.

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The NBA finals are often a mis-match, and this type of playoff should save the best match-up to the very end of the season (when it should happen).

Plus it would be a unique format which I'm sure could be used as spin to gain some additional coverage!

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I hate it when people suggest changing playoff formats to try and get the best two teams an easier route to the finals.

... and there should be some rewards for ending the season with the best (or better) record ... hence an "easier" run in the playoffs!

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The NBA finals are often a mis-match, and this type of playoff should save the best match-up to the very end of the season (when it should happen).

Plus it would be a unique format which I'm sure could be used as spin to gain some additional coverage!

Didn't last season's final go at least 6 games? And there's been an Eastern team and a Western team winning the NBA Finals the last two seasons.....

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The NBA finals are often a mis-match, and this type of playoff should save the best match-up to the very end of the season (when it should happen).

Plus it would be a unique format which I'm sure could be used as spin to gain some additional coverage!

Didn't last season's final go at least 6 games? And there's been an Eastern team and a Western team winning the NBA Finals the last two seasons.....

it was 7, and it was one of the greatest Finals I have ever seen. I like what we have now, there is drama, a climax, and the possibility of an upset or 2. At least we get to see who is the best of the best of each conference.

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The NBA finals are often a mis-match

Often??

The Lakers were huge favorites in '04 and the Pistons shocked them in 5 and last season the Spurs and Pistons went the distance.

Those weren't mis-matches if you ask me,

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The NBA doesnt even need more than the top 4 teams from each conference in the playoffs anyways. You hardly ever see lower seeds advance, let alone make the conference finals. They should do as MLB does. Three division winners, and one wildcard makes it. The first round is always meaningless.

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The NBA finals are often a mis-match

Often??

The Lakers were huge favorites in '04 and the Pistons shocked them in 5 and last season the Spurs and Pistons went the distance.

Those weren't mis-matches if you ask me,

So probably in those years, both teams would have advanced through the cross-over round anyway and met in the finals regardless. But in other years, where the two best have met in the conference finals, they would have beaten their cross-conference rival and advanced to the finals together!

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The NBA doesnt even need more than the top 4 teams from each conference in the playoffs anyways. You hardly ever see lower seeds advance, let alone make the conference finals. They should do as MLB does. Three division winners, and one wildcard makes it. The first round is always meaningless.

Makes sense to me, I like the MLB playoff format.

More teams in playoffs = more meaningless games!

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Using baseball's format in the NBA:

WEST

(1) Phoenix vs. (4) Dallas (Wildcard)

(2) San Antonio vs. (3) Seattle

Exactly the same as the semifinal round

EAST

(1) Miami vs. (4) Chicago (Wildcard)

(2) Detroit vs. (3) Boston

Not necessarily better in the East.

Using the 16 best teams, regardless of conference format:

(1) Phoenix vs. (16) New Jersey

(8) Sacramento vs. (9) Denver

(4) Dallas vs. (13) Indiana

(5) Detroit vs. (12) Memphis

(2) San Antonio vs. (15) Philadelphia

(7) Houston vs. (10) Boston

(3) Miami vs. (14) Minnesota

(6) Seattle vs. (11) Washington

Taking a wild guess...

(1) Phoenix def (9) Denver

(5) Detroit def (4) Dallas

(2) San Antonio def (7) Houston

(3) Miami def (6) Seattle

(5) Detroit def (1) Phoenix

(2) San Antonio def (3) Miami

(2) San Antonio def (5) Detroit

Sure looks like a more exciting playoffs without the conference restriction. Then again, the NBA really depends on knowing what time zones the games are going to be played in. The league doesn't have baseball's luxury of being able to have games played at all hours of the afternoon. It's usually 7:00, 8:00, 9:30 and 10:30. That probably wouldn't work.

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In the ideal world, time-zones and TV schedules should not play a part in playoff formats and the like. However, since we do not live in the ideal world, I guess we will have to live with the desires of the TV networks.

I like the idea of aboning conference play altogether, however I guess it does build rivalries and make fixturing easier. I actually think that the Australian Football League should consider conferences (new topic perhaps) ... but it'll never happen!

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The 6 division champs should qualify, but it'd also be neat to have 6 wild-cards qualify without regard to conference. Seed them #1 through #12 and go:

Series A: #12 seed vs. #5 seed

Series B: #11 seed vs. #6 seed

Series C: #10 seed vs. #7 seed

Series D: #9 seed vs. #8 seed

Second Round:

#1 seed vs. lowest surviving seed

#2 seed vs. second-lowest

#3 seed vs. third-lowest, and

#4 seed vs. fourth-lowest

Lather, rinse, repeat.

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I say the NBA adapt the collegiate format. You have divisions and set regularly scheduled division play. Beyond that the teams are responsible for setting their own schedules. At the end of the regular season each division has their own tournament and the winners of each division get an automatic bid to the NBA tourney. A panel of team owners and sports journalists sets the remaining playoff participants, assigns teams to "regions" and the playoffs begin.

Or perhaps not . . . :D

I don't think the NBA will abandon its present format for a reason not yet mentioned - marketing and merchandise. If you deemphasize division and conference titles then you sell fewer t-shirts and other commemorative merchandise for the teams that have successful seasons but don't win the whole thing -- no more "Midwest Division Champs" or "Eastern Conference Champions" memorabilia. Nobody's going to buy "2006 NBA Playoff Participant" or "2006 NBA Runner-Up" gear. Even in MLB each league's lone non-division winner is called the "Wild Card Champ" or in the case of the 2001 Cardinals, the "NL Central Co-Champs."

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