NBA playoff solution

Yes, yes. It has been awhile.

Anyway, I recently sent an email to the NBA pertaining to a solution to the playoff format. Now, while my email may have been disregarded as some “lame” idea that a 25 year old thought up of, or may have been swiped by the reader of those countless fan emails and spun as his own idea. I’ve decided to write a post about it, because in today’s world, that’s really the only way things get noticed. Also, while I came up with my idea on my own, I recognize that it is possible that someone else thought of it. But from a cursory look on the internet (5 minutes…), I haven’t seen anyone with my idea. EDIT:, Thank you, AK, for correcting me. Therefore, my contribution to this discussion is a picture, which I’m sure someone else also did before me -_-

Back in February, Adam Silver said that he is trying to make the NBA better, but as far as I have seen, nothing has been done…yet.

Currently, the NBA playoffs consist of the top 8 teams per conference, thus when the bottom 7 teams realize that they have no chance at making the playoffs, these teams start benching/minimizing the minutes their best players play. What happens when you bench your best players? Surprise! You start losing. Not only that, but the NBA rewards losing teams with better draft picks, and I personally see that as an abomination.

So in a nutshell, here are the problems:

  • Teams tank
  • Playoffs are boring for the bottom 7 team fan bases
  • Games towards the end of the season get boring
  • Boring

So, here is my solution. Instead of taking the top 8 teams per conference, the only guaranteed spots should be for the top 7. Now you might ask yourself, “How can you have a proper bracket with only 7 teams?” Fear not, this is where my solution comes in. The bottom 8 teams shall play in a NCAA-style tournament to fight for the 8th seed, which will now be a wild card. You can see the set up of the playoffs through the diagram I have included. The dates are reflective of this year’s playoffs, but the principle is still there. Also, I don’t believe that the bottom seeded teams should get the 1st pick of the draft. However, the point of my post is not about drafts, and there are many other much smarter people that can give better insight and ideas to fixing the draft issues.

NBA playoff design

Here’s a generic view of my proposed idea

nba current

This is a prettier version of the garbage I had uploaded earlier. Again, thank you ESPN for the logos (don’t sue me, bro).


Reasons why my system is better (in no particular order):

  • More time for the top 7 teams to rest (if the regular season ends 4/15, and playoffs start 4/24)
  • Literally ALL of the fan bases are involved
  • More revenue, due to an additional 14 games that are guaranteed (at least the NBA is honest about their for-profit, unlike the NFL)
  • Teams don’t have the incentive to tank
  • Gives teams that are up-and-coming a chance to get into the playoffs
  • Everyone loves a wild card

There are more reasons, but I am too lazy at this point to think of any other points, plus I really should be studying…

Anyway, let me know what you think of my proposed NBA playoff idea, and if there’s anything you think should be changed/altered/whatever. Adam Silver, if you like my idea, you have my email (unless one of your minions tried to rip off my idea and pass it off as their own).

One Response to “NBA playoff solution”
  1. PK9 says:

    I came up with the exact same idea a few months ago. I had just never looked to see if anyone else had thought of it. The only thing I’d add is to tie the lottery into the teams’ finish for the play-in tournament. This allows the NBA to keep their goal of helping out bad teams in order to promote parity. You might argue that this could incentivize teams to lose playoff games intentionally, but I think the mere possibility that they could somehow make a miracle run to the championship will keep the teams trying their hardest to win. I also don’t think this would weaken the regular season, because there’s still a significant benefit to finishing in the top 7 – a guaranteed 7-game series vs having to win 3 straight games just to make the “real” playoffs. And there’s also a boost for earning the top seed because they’d get to play a tired opponent rather than a rested one.

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