In a year that featured a 48-win team missing the playoffs and two sub-.500 teams playing deep into April, it's no shock that nationwide chatter about changing the NBA playoff system has increased.
It appears that the possibility of change is at least on the horizon once more.
As reported by Chris McCosky of The Detroit News:
If coaches and team officials truly want to change the current NBA playoff format, they are going to get their opportunity this summer.
"Though I think it is unlikely anything will happen, we will explore it fully," commissioner David Stern said in an informal press briefing before the game Friday.
Several different proposals have been discussed the last couple of years. One is to re-seed teams in each conference after each round. Another is for the playoffs to include the 16 top teams in the league, regardless of conference affiliation and simply seed them one through 16.
Re-seeding? Wonderful. Top 16 go to the playoffs? Would require a lot more thinking out.
It's long been the contention here that if the NHL has done one thing right over the years, it has been re-seeding. Teams work for 82 games over several months every year to provide themselves the easiest possible path to the championship. It makes sense to have the best regular season teams play the lowest-seeded teams available to them. It's that simple.
As for the 'top 16' idea, it's worth remembering that the problems the system currently has wouldn't go away simply by taking the best 16 records. The schedules would have to be balanced -- or at least moved closer to balanced -- as well. As it currently stands, Eastern Conference teams are expected to naturally have records a few games better than the Western Conference teams at or near their level because of the fact that they play 52 games against the East and 30 against the West rather than the other way around. Balanced schedules mean more coast-to-coast travel, which could mean more off days, which could mean longer seasons. Which people would in turn complain about. So if this is going to even be considered, there will need to be plenty of extra logistical planning going on as well.