Photo Credit: NBC Sports
Co-Written by Braden Wagle and Louie Snyder
The NBA has started looking at rule changes that will drastically change the NBA schedule. While some of them could be great, others seem like they could be more of an issue.
Re-Seeding Conference Finals
We will start by looking at possibly the best thing talked about in these supposed changes the NBA is looking at. For a long time now some people have wanted the best 16 teams to make the playoffs and be seeded 1-16 so we have a chance for the best teams in the Finals. The issue is that the owners in the Eastern Conference do not want this (it would take playoff spots away from the most likely). The next solution was still taking 8 from each conference, but reseeding them 1-16. The big issue here is travel and money spent. The First Round of the playoffs is not spread out the same as the NBA finals. If the Lakers played the 76ers we would be a major travel issue for the teams involved.
The new solution would make this not an issue until the Conference Finals when they can spread out the games more. It will also allow better Finals, for example, a 2018 Warriors-Rockets 7 game series instead of a Warriors Cavs blowout. The Rockets would’ve had a chance to end LeBron’s finals streak and tried to prove that they could beat a great team that was not the Warriors. This is a great idea and needs to be done.
There was reported talks about a mid-season tournament that would include all 30 teams, much like many of the soccer cups played in England (the FA cup). This is an interesting idea. It would provide some excitement early in the year, but it also just seems to be more games. Stars on great teams would likely not play (which also happens in European soccer cups) until the later rounds if at all. They already rest a lot of games, they would have very little incentive to play in this event. That wouldn’t mean the event would be awful though. It could be fun to see some of the younger teams play against some of the young guys on the elite teams. You would likely get to see more of guys like Landry Shamet, Carsen Edwards, and other rookies who do not play much on elite teams.
The odd thing is they seem to be taking the idea from European soccer, but the difference is the FA cup in England includes all the teams in England, not just the Premier League. That is somewhat the importance of it. It would be like if the G-League teams also played in this tournament (or maybe college teams) which would NEVER happen. It somewhat seems like a pointless tournament unless the stakes are high (maybe a compensatory pick that is in the middle of the first round??). I am not against it, I don’t think it hurts the game, but I don’t think it helps either.
Play-In Games / Tournament
This idea has the most mixed reviews, but we are fairly against it. The regular season is already long enough and 16/30 make the playoffs. That is over 50% of the league. If after 82 games you are not in the top 53% of the league, we feel you do not need a chance to have a play in-game for the playoffs. In 2016-17 we would’ve seen a 36-46 team in the East and a 34-48 team in the West playing in games that could move them into the playoffs. This would put even less emphasis on the playoffs, and create some poor basketball games. Maybe this idea and the mid-season tournament idea could be combined.
Last year I talked about the idea of moving the Awards to a week in-between the regular season and playoffs so they are given at a relevant time, and the week-off would give players more time to rest making possibly healthier players start playoffs and fewer injuries during. We saw Paul George, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and many others get hurt throughout the playoffs a year ago and this might help prevent that. Maybe we could make it more of a 2-week break where the awards are given out and a tournament is held among the teams who missed the playoffs that would give them an extra draft pick or higher lottery odds.
The overall take is despite many thinking it might be time to shorten an 82-game schedule that does not seem to be in the cards. They said each team would likely play between 78-79 games with a team playing a maximum of 83 games. We already see more players getting hurt than we did in the 90s do to the more consistent play of AAU basketball putting a lot of wear on these players when they are young, we also see more players resting. Shortening the season 3-4 games with some teams possibly playing an extra game does not seem to be a great idea.