This year seems to be the year of fixing the NBA with the draft wheel, the "Fun as Hell Tournament" from Bill Simmons, and even conference seeding. I have heard of shortening the season and expanding the league with 2 more teams and then changing divisions. Its been a fun year for the NBA even though watching the Jazz win 25 games was harder than I anticipated. Having said all this I want to address the playoffs because I think I have at least started an easy fix.
If you dont understand the problem its simply that the West is stacked compared to the East. You have teams in the West that missed the playoffs and would have been a top 3 or 4 seed in the East. Phoenix didnt make the playoffs and the thoughts of re-aligning playoff seeds has been more rampant than ever this season. Atlanta didnt even seem to want to be in the playoffs and ended up making it.
Currently the top 8 teams in each Conference make the playoffs. The West has been overall more stacked then the East for about 15 years. Only the Spurs, Heat, Bulls, Lakers, Celtics and Pistons have hardware to show for the past 20 years of the NBA. If you expanded to the Conference Finals teams in the past 15 years or so you could add a handful more of teams in the Jazz, Thunder, Nuggets, Pacers and Knicks I believe. Anyways I dont believe I need to dive to deep into why the West has better teams than the East since its been that way for awhile.
To fix the Playoffs I believe the change is pretty simple and minor. The NBA would push back with tradition, travel, and ease of scheduling. I believe the top 6 teams in each conference get into the playoffs as they currently do however the final two spots in each conference be opened up to the entire league. My big difference is that the last 4 spots just go to the remaining best records and are seeded accordingly. This year it would have been assurance for Phoenix to make the playoffs instead of the lowly Hawks.
Teams would have to stop tanking... never mind thats a different problem for a different day.
The opening rounds would have to change a little to adjust to this playoff schedule. 1 seed plays 6 seed, 2 vs 5 and 3 vs 4. That occurs in both conferences and then the 7th and 8th seed play each other in each conference wild card to make it to the 2nd round and play the winner of the 1 vs 6 seed game. I believe it makes the playoffs more like the March Madness tourney because the 1 seed plays the 6th seed instead of the 8th seed. This season it would be Miami and Brooklyn, which would be exciting.
What are your thoughts? Ive been thinking about this for a few weeks.