Poll: Should The NBA Consider Realignment?

It’s not a closely guarded secret that the Western Conference has been far superior to the east as a whole for some time now. In fact, since the the turn of the millennium, only once — the 2008/09 season — has the Eastern Conference been able to lay claim to the better winning percentage between the two conferences.

The results thus far this season have done nothing to change this trend. Eastern teams have a 23-55 record against their western counterparts, which if you are doing the math, amounts to a .295 winning percentage. Here’s a quick rundown of the non-conference record for each Eastern Conference team this season.

  1. Raptors 4-0
  2. Bucks 3-0
  3. Bulls 3-3
  4. Heat 2-3
  5. Cavs 2-4
  6. Pacers 2-4
  7. Nets 2-5
  8. Hawks 1-2
  9. Magic 1-3
  10. Knicks 1-4
  11. Wizards 0-1
  12. Pistons 1-6
  13. Celtics 0-6
  14. Sixers 0-6
  15. Hornets 1-8

Earlier this week, Mavs team owner Mark Cuban suggested a plan to try and level the playing field between the NBA’s two conferences through realignment. In Cuban’s plan, the Spurs, Rockets, Pelicans and Mavs would shift to the Eastern Conference, and the Bulls, Pacers, Pistons, and Bucks would relocate to the west. Cuban did acknowledge that his franchise could benefit from the shift to the east, but added, “It’s not like it’d be the first time we’ve ever realigned. It’s happened many times before, so there’s precedent and I just think it shakes things up and makes things interesting. It’s not like you’re reducing competition. You keep Cleveland, Washington and other good teams in the East. It kind of shakes things up in terms of not just interest but also in terms of how people rebuild.”

I re-calculated the numbers based on Cuban’s plan, and the shift in teams improved the east’s numbers against the west to 37-57, or a .394 winning percentage. With the NBA campaign only a month old the numbers would likely improve as the season continued, especially with the relative strength of the teams in San Antonio, Houston, and Dallas.  This realignment plan would essentially swap out the bulk of the Central Division for the majority of the Southwest Division. But is Cuban’s idea something that would be good for the league long-term? It would certainly be a touch odd geographically, but so is having New Orleans residing in the west as it currently does.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver has been receptive to ideas that would address the issue of the West being a significantly deeper, stronger conference than the East. One idea that has been suggested is to have a 16-team playoff bracket that does not take conferences into consideration, but rather overall winning percentages. This change would certainly make the playoffs more intense and entertaining, but it would do nothing to address the disparity between the two conferences during the regular season.

What do you think? Should the league give serious consideration to Cuban’s realignment suggestion, go to the top-16 team format in the playoffs, or just leave well-enough alone? Cast your vote below and feel free to expand on the debate in the comments section.

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Susan Cavote
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Susan Cavote
1 year 8 months ago
SOLVING PROBLEMS W/ NBA REALIGNMENT & PLAYOFF STRENGTH IMBALANCERealignment is necessary because teams like Minnesota and Portland are too out of place. Realignment using 5 odd numbered divisions w/ 6 teams each makes a whole lot of geographical sense (ALL TEAMS FIT VERY NICELY!), and having 5 divisions (not 4 or 6) actually SOLVES the playoff strength imbalance problem using FLEXIBILITY to balance EAST/WEST strengths (weakest seeds) come playoff time: W E S T E R N C O N F E R E N C EPACIFIC DIVISION– Portland, Sacramento, Golden State, LA Lakers, LA Clippers, UtahSOUTHWEST DIVISION– Denver, Phoenix,… Read more »
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