The current system of the NBA Playoffs is very simple. Each conference sends their top 8 teams based on record and runs a simple tournament structure with 1 vs. 8, 2 vs. 7 and so on till the winner of each conference meets in the NBA Finals. Each series is best of 7, with the format for the better seed having the Home-Home-Away-Away-Home-Away-Home format.
But what if we spiced it up a little. What if we took it to the next level.
Scrap the conferences. There are starting to become as useless as the division (which provide no advantage in seeding). They were started as a way to make travel efficient – in the 1950s and 60s. Everyone has their own private jet with all the luxuries. Pointless to continue doing. My idea is to have the top 16 teams overall make the playoffs, regardless of conference. So 1 would face 16, 2 vs. 15 and so on.
Reseed after every round. I hate the idea of a lower seed getting an ‘easier’ opponent for winning the first round game. I suggest we drop the static format and move to reseeding, so the best second rounds team plays the worst second round team, and so on again. Hockey used to do with years ago.
Give home court format a boost. This last idea may be unpopular. The top 4 seeds, as a reward for the regular season, get a 5th home game in the best of 7 series. That extra game occurs in Game 6 if the series goes for that long. The new format will go H-H-A-A-H-H-H. Sure, this gives the top teams even more advantages, but they deserve it and gives even more value to the regular season.
Here’s who the tournament would look today (as of April 6, 2017)
1 Golden State (65-14) vs. Portland (38-40)
2 San Antonio (60-18) vs. Chicago (38-40)
3 Houston (53-25) vs. Miami (38-40)
4 Cleveland (51-27) vs Atlanta (38-40)
5 Boston (50-28) vs. Milwaukee (40-38)
6 Utah (48-30) vs. Memphis (42-37)
7 LA Clippers (48-31) vs.OKC (45-33)
8 Toronto (48-31) vs. 9 Washington (47-31)