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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One thought on “Poll: Should The NBA Consider Realignment?

  1. Susan Cavote

    SOLVING PROBLEMS W/ NBA REALIGNMENT & PLAYOFF STRENGTH IMBALANCE
    Realignment 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 E
    PACIFIC DIVISION
    – Portland, Sacramento, Golden State, LA Lakers, LA Clippers, Utah
    SOUTHWEST DIVISION
    – Denver, Phoenix, San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, Oklahoma City

    M I D C O N F E R E N C E
    CENTRAL DIVISION
    – Minnesota(SP), Milwaukee(SP), Chicago(SP), Indiana(SP), Cleveland(E), Detroit(E)

    E A S T E R N C O N F E R E N C E
    ATLANTIC DIVISION
    – Toronto(E), Boston(E), New York(E), Brooklyn(E), Philadelphia(E), Washington(E)
    SOUTHEAST DIVISION
    – Charlotte(E), Atlanta(E), Memphis(SP), New Orleans(SP), Orlando(E), Miami(E)

    S C H E D U L E (12 West teams play mostly West teams, 12 East teams marked w/ (E) play mostly East teams(E), 6 Split teams marked w/ (SP) play balanced schedule of West and East teams(E)):

    – 12 West Conference teams only: 25 games own division (5 games each), 18 games sister division (3 games each), 15 games w/ 6 Split teams marked (SP) from Central division and Southeast division (avg. 2.5 games each), 24 games w/ 12 East teams marked (E) (2 games each)

    – 6 East Conference teams only in Atlantic division: 25 games own division (5 games each), 18 games w/ 6 other East teams marked (E) outside division (3 games each), 15 games w/ 6 Split teams marked (SP) from Central division and Southeast division (avg. 2.5 games each), 24 games w/ 12 West teams (2 games each)

    – 4 East Conference teams only in Southeast division marked (E): 24 games own division (avg. 4.8 games each), 24 games w/ 8 other East teams marked (E) outside division (3 games each), 10 games w/ 4 Split teams marked (SP) only from Central division (avg. 2.5 games each), 24 games w/ 12 West teams (2 games each)

    – 2 Split teams only in Southeast division marked (SP): 24 games own division (avg. 4.8 games each), 20 games w/ 8 other East teams marked (E) outside division (avg. 2.5 games each), 8 games w/ 4 Split teams marked (SP) only from Central division (2 games each), 30 games w/ 12 West teams (avg. 2.5 games each)

    – 4 Split teams only in Central division marked (SP): 23 games own division (avg. 4.6 games each), 25 games w/ 10 other East teams marked (E) outside division (avg. 2.5 games each), 4 games w/ 2 Split teams marked (SP) only from Southeast division (2 games each), 30 games w/ 12 West teams (avg. 2.5 games each)

    – 2 East Conference teams only in Central division marked (E): 23 games own division (avg. 4.6 games each), 30 games w/ 10 other East teams marked (E) outside division (3 games each), 5 games w/ 2 Split teams marked (SP) only from Southeast division (avg. 2.5 games each), 24 games w/ 12 West teams (2 games each)

    P L A Y O F F S: 16-team format EAST bracket vs WEST bracket. Top team (division winner) from each division automatically qualifies (5 teams), then best of rest wild card teams from anywhere in the League qualify (best remaining 11 teams). Use the 6 Split teams marked w/ (SP) for EAST and/or WEST bracket(s) as appropriate “go-between” teams to help evenly divide brackets so that lowest #8 seeds from each EAST/WEST bracket are as balanced as possible, avoiding undesirable imbalance of one bracket having a weak seed team(s) w/ losing record(s) while the other bracket has much stronger weak seed record(s) – causing other team(s) w/ decent record(s) to miss playoffs unfairly. THIS 5 DIVISION SYSTEM WORKS! I CHECKED THE PAST 10 YEARS AND FOUND NO UNFAIR PLAYOFF LOW #8 SEED FORMAT USING THIS 5 DIVISIONAL SYSTEM.

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