The conversation surrounding NBA playoff seeding has reached its zenith now that LeBron James has become the latest in a long line of Eastern Conference stars to defect west.
In fact, according to Dan Feldman of NBC Sports, only one* single NBA player with an All-NBA 1st-Team nod under their belt currently plays in the Eastern Conference… and no it’s not Giannis Antetokounmpo but Joakim Noah.
The question at hand is whether the league should think long and hard about ditching the current system that seeds eight teams from each conference separately in favor of one that seeds the best 16 teams in the league, regardless of conference, 1-16.
According to Brian Mahoney of The Associated Press, the most concerning aspect of making such a change would be the increased travel for teams in the postseason. Per league commissioner Adam Silver, such a change would add an overall total of 40,000 travel miles for teams in the postseason.
Currently, the league says it averages about 90,000 miles of total travel, noting that the regular season mark comes in significantly higher at 130,000 miles.
Of course changing the playoff structure would likely mean that the league would be obligated to balance the regular season schedule between conferences, too, something the league estimates would add an additional 150,000 miles of travel between October and April.
That doesn’t mean that it couldn’t still be worth it. Mavs owner Mark Cuban doesn’t see the problem (h/t Kurt Helin of NBC Sports), arguing that the league’s smartest decision in the past decade was to extend the season to allow for more time off between games. Playoff schedules, he says, could be similarly optimized when necessary.
Our question for Hoops Rumors readers, then, is what they think of the debate? Would the NBA benefit from ditching the current format in order to accommodate 1-16 seeding irrespective of conferences?
Let your voice be heard.
*Since this tweet, Dwight Howard has committed to the Wizards, so technically two.
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