Poll: Should The NBA Adopt 1-16 Playoff Seeding?

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.

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote.

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47 thoughts on “Poll: Should The NBA Adopt 1-16 Playoff Seeding?

  1. How many more people would vote if this was mobile friendly?

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  2. Lefty_Orioles_Fan
    Lefty_Orioles_Fan

    Let the Players decide, they run everything else in the league! Led by King ‘ I do what I want to do’ James! SMH

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  3. hiflew

    What is the point of having divisions or conferences? If you do that, the schedule will have to be far more balanced to remain fair. Which would increase travel time for east coast teams having to make more west coast trip and vice versa. The logistics would be a nightmare in that scenario. But it would be far worse to have a 1-16 ranking without doing that.

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  4. davidmp2

    Liberal use of the phrase “currently playing,” don’t you think?

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    • Austin Kent

      Haha, if only I could attach a GIF of somebody throwing up obnoxious air quotes…

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  5. jacobsigel1025

    With the current condition of the league yes there should be the 1-16, but in general I dislike the idea because the conferences won’t maintain this degree of lopsidedness forever

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    • imindless
      imindless

      West has been better for close tho 25 years….besides bulls who has won the my chips? 5 lakers, 5 spurs, 4 gsw. Is not even close west is superior in every way…

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  6. tatumszn2018

    How about eliminate small market teams and just have big market teams battle it out lol. West is tough during the regular season but ends up the same teams in the conf finals. Lebron leaving the East actually gives them parity. Looking forward to their playoffs this year.

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  7. imindless
    imindless

    East sucks, would make for better playoffs. Also the bad east teams would get consecutive higher picks and become better teams building the east back up.

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  8. signal_lost

    This is a case of deciding that a problem exists, focusing on the wrong issue as the problem, then deciding on a solution that will make things worse. 1-16 will narrow the number of teams that are ‘in it’.. If we want more interest in the NBA and reduce the benefit of losing on purpose, then we should broaden the playoffs not narrow them. Emphasize divisions using scheduling would broaden the playoffs.

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  9. glk5150

    Changing the format would accommodate tanking. If you want to make the playoffs….be a tops 8 team in your conference. % wise, more teams make the NBA playoffs every year than they do in football or baseball.

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  10. Danthemilwfan

    They don’t play the same teams the same amount of time. The west has been the best for a while but that hasn’t always been the case and it won’t always be. The league will correct itself. As soon as the east teams stop tanking and go all in to get a star. It’s time for the Bucks, Pacers, phili, Toronto to make that trade. Trade Jabari Parker or Kyle Lowry or Markell fultz for a Marc gasol, kawahi leanard, Andre Wiggins, lamarcus aldridge….until then we just have to wait it out.

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  11. petersdylan36

    If you look at last years standings, the nuggets who came in 9th place were the only team from the west who got screwed and had a better record than an east playoff team. The west has more competitive teams but it won’t last forever.
    It is better to have the divisions and conferences stay the same.

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  12. cakirby

    I’d probably want it modified slightly, maybe to where the division winners are guaranteed the top 8 seeds, and then everything under that fills it out.

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    • Austin Kent

      The Canadian Football League does something similar. It will default to 3-and-3 but if records warrant it, the 4th team in one conference can take bump the 3rd team from the other conference, essentially making it 4-and-2 with one of those teams being a “crossover team”

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  13. hiflew

    Honestly, if we are changing formats, let’s just do a first division and second division for the teams that are actually trying to win and the ones rebuilding. Act like Europe and relegate and promote after the season.

    16 teams in A, 16 in B after expanding by two. Top 8 in A to the playoffs. Top 8 in B to the “future playoffs.” That way you’d have two champions each year. Each year bottom 4 in A move down and final 4 in B playoffs move up. If you are in the bottom 4 of B for 3 consecutive years, your team gets replaced by someone willing to try harder. I’d watch that.

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    • redsraiderspurs44

      I totally agree with that. Create a sense of urgency for every team. Play to win or get lost baby! Very well thought out too!

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    • This would actually make sense.

      The greater point to me is that seeding 1-16 alone starts a trickle down effect of problems. First it’s schedule imbalance, they’d have to go down to 72 (29×2=58, plus 14 more games at random or within your old conference) which is probably smart anyway. Then, when you think about it, 16 playoff teams is a bit much outside of their conference, so that would need to be tweaked. But expansion seems inevitable (a lot of 10-11 man rotations vs 7-8s a few years ago)

      One change I’d propose to the relegation format is to have the bottom four A teams play the top four B teams, by seeding, for the right to be in division A.

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      • hiflew

        I disagree with your change. With regards to relegation and promotion, the regular season should matter far more than who happens to be hotter during a 7 game series.

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  14. clubberlang

    NBA just needs a hard Cap and/or additional benefits for Players staying with current teams. Like FA signing can only be 3 years/70% of max.

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  15. Ask TNT and ESPN if it can be done. It really has gotten to the point the players don’t want to go to the east.

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  16. x%sure

    First it was just reseeding, then it was obligated to do this and that… so no… you wind up with an all-teams-in-one-bin league and only one team accomplishes anything.

    Split up and go promotion & relegation between A and B. Then cities can be added. 40 majors and their minors in C & D.

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  17. Z-A

    Probably should just get rid of all the teams in the midwest and just put teams on coastal cities… bc that’s where the best players end up.

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  18. Dodgethis

    The entire east vs west setup is a joke. The middle of the country isn’t east or west. I would change it so divisions are regional, regardless of the number of teams. Eliminate conferences all together. Have the top team from each region/division take a playoff spot and then “wild card” for the remaining spots based on overall record. Division winners would necessarily receive the tops seeds 1-6 (or however many divisions we end up with) just make the top spot in the division a guaranteed playoff spot and seed based on everyone that makes it. We might end up with a bunch of teams from the same division, but every region is guaranteed representation in the playoffs without being east vs west and without one conference being dramatically worse.

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  19. Whatever we do, can we quit worrying about travel time? Airplanes work reasonably well for that.

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      • I wouldn’t spend a lot of time worrying about whether or not I’ve heard of jet lag if you think that a few possible transcontinental charter flights in the playoffs is a serious enough source of concern that they should format the entire league structure around it.

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      • NBA playoff seeding would cause aviation-related air pollution to go up by what percentage, exactly?

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  20. Look at the NFL. They go to London and Mexico City every year now. You have the NFC and AFC each with an east and west division. The Superbowl is the biggest event in America. They are doing something right.

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  21. Definitely not, you will kill the league by doing this, keep the traditions alive this has worked for 70 years, why change it? Is normal all the players wanna go west, who would wanna live on the east, apart of Florida & Charlotte? I read yesterday a very interesting article from USA Today, just saying what I have been saying all along, people have to forget about who wins, or keep on winning or we know who is gonna win, NBA is a business, a show business, is only for entertainment, you go to see the same play more than once, though you know how it ends, same with NBA, who cares that Golden State wins again next year, & who cares we know it, the entertainment is still the same, the highlights, the chance to see the best athletes in the world doing amazing things, so why change things that work, killing effectively great rivalries that makes the league, like Boston/Philly & so on…

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  22. x%sure

    If not East-West, then what?

    When the Big 10 reorganized into two divisions, originally they NOT based on geography– they were called “Legends” & “Leaders” and were divided on the basis of balance.
    That lasted a few years until by popular demand they went East-West, even though the East had more top teams. (Although the addition of Rutgers & MD mitigated that a bit for football.)

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