What wouldn’t it take to make LeBron James and the Cavaliers care about their common-season document?
That is a query Adam Silver and the NBA league workplace mind belief might reply by introducing the new playoff construction presently into account. Beneath the present construction, groups are seeded 1-by way of-eight inside their convention; the brand new format would see the sixteen playoff groups re-seeded 1-by means of-sixteen by document, no matter convention.
There would nonetheless be eight playoff groups from each conferences, nevertheless it’s nonetheless a step towards balancing the playoffs – forcing contenders within the weak Japanese Convention to battle a bit more durable to earn their seed.
Let’s check out how the groups would have been re-seeded within the first spherical of the 2017 playoffs and look at a few of the implications of a redesigned playoff construction.
(Tiebreaker precedence per NBA.com)
Logistically, 4 of the primary-spherical matchups are nonetheless intra-convention, and solely one of many inter-convention matchups – Jazz vs. Wizards – includes a considerably cumbersome route that provides a journey burden to the collection. Ultimately, 1-by means of-sixteen playoff seeding would result in a very ungodly journey itinerary – image Blazers vs. Warmth, or Suns vs. Celtics. Nonetheless, the groups are flying personal; pray for the poor beat writers making an attempt to get from the Pacific Northwest to South Seashore by way of business flights.
The Spurs and Rockets, who had robust matchups towards the Grizzlies and Thunder, respectively, would’ve had considerably simpler matchups towards the Bulls and Pacers. That would result in shorter collection and more healthy, higher-rested our bodies heading into Spherical 2, however it will additionally decrease the potential for a primary-spherical upset. Because it was, just one first-spherical collection went to a Recreation 7 this previous yr.
One draw back to untethering playoff collection from their conventional playoff opponents is reducing the potential for playoff rematches. The Grizzlies and Spurs confronted one another in 4 of the previous seven playoffs. Would intense rivalries foster with out the added strain of repeated playoff conferences? Unlikely.
(Photograph courtesy: Motion Photographs)
However maybe the most important ramification of the brand new potential construction can be incentivizing groups within the weaker convention to struggle more durable for his or her seeding. Final yr, the Cavaliers sleepwalked to a second seed. With respect to the Celtics, LeBron James and Co. knew they did not have to fret about elimination till they reached the Finals.
However had the Cavaliers fallen to the fifth seed final season, a 3rd straight Finals look would’ve been extraordinarily troublesome. If larger seeds went chalk of their matchups all through the playoffs, the Cavs would have confronted the Grizzlies in Spherical 1, the Celtics in Spherical 2, after which the Warriors within the semi-finals. Based mostly on the outcomes of the particular 2017 Finals, that is in all probability so far as the Cavs would’ve gone.
So there’s clearly a commerce-off. Some groups would face longer journey days throughout cross-nation collection, and the widened pool of playoff opponents inside the first three rounds of the playoffs would forestall some rivalries from actually taking off. Then again, LeBron James would not be capable of cruise by means of the Japanese Convention, en path to his thirty seventh straight Finals look. A motivated LeBron is one thing to behold.
General, 1-by way of-sixteen playoff seeding might be a street value taking place. If it takes a little bit of creativity to drive the Japanese Convention to lastly stay as much as its Western counterpart, so be it.