Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

Crossing The Bridge Between The East And West Conferences In The NBA

We’re about twenty games into the season for each team now and the two NBA conferences are looking more unbalanced than ever; is it time for a change? Let’s say the playoffs were to begin today, for example, and the season was dramatically shortened. Fans in Detroit are celebrating a fifth-seed finish with a nine wins, ten losses record (that’s right, that’s a .474 percentage in the fifth seed) while Pelicans fans (do they really have any left after that ridiculous name-change?) are putting Davis’ head on the chopping block because they finished thirteenth in the West. The catch? The nine wins, ten losses record they share with the fifth placed Pistons in the East.

Before jumping to conclusions, it is important to consider the lack of actual talent in the East right now. The Knicks and Nets have are currently in a battle for the ‘worst team in New York’ title and despite the huge hype surrounding both teams before the season began, could very well end up with the worst records in the entire league this season. Chicago has suffered a major blow with another injury to Rose, the stacked Wizards are still boasting a below .500 record, and Kyrie just can’t seem to lead the Cavaliers the way Lebron did. Only the top three teams are boasting winning records (Indiana, Miami and Atlanta) and below them is the Celtics who I personally envisioned finishing well out of the top eight.

Then there’s the West which is looking like it’s going to be a tight race to the playoffs this year but is anybody really surprised? The Lakers sit in tenth place currently with a ten wins, nine loss record (that’s .526 for those percentage fans out there); Memphis who are below them sit on parity at nine-nine. Hypothetically, if the Lakers were in the Eastern Conference they would be sitting in a comfortable fourth seed. The top eight in the Western Conference currently boasts powerhouses such as Portland, San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Los Angeles (the other LA team), Houston, Dallas, Denver and Golden State. But minus Utah and Sacramento, the other five teams below the top eight all have very real chances of making the playoffs. Is it fair that Memphis fans miss out on supporting the Grizzlies in a playoff campaign because they sport a ninth place seed at the end of the season regardless of the same record as the fourth seed in the East?

So what can be done? I have thought of one logical answer (but please, feel free to comment below with your own ideas) to the inequality between the two conferences; get rid of them. Forget the two conferences and base the NBA on a thirty-team structure. There is no first place in the East, first place in the West, but a first place overall. The top sixteen teams go to the playoffs while the bottom top sixteen restructure, wonder what went wrong, or trade everyone away. Here’s how the playoffs would work (and bear with me):

Say we stick with the usual best of seven structure. The first seed would play the sixteenth, the second the fifteenth, the third the fourteenth and so on. The first round of the playoffs is over and there are eight teams left. The winners of the game between the first seed and the sixteenth seed will play the winners of the eighth and ninth seed game and so on with the other teams. This would continue on until eventually we have the top two teams in the league playing for the number one spot in a seven game series.


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