Thursday, February 13, 2020

Fixing the NBA

A few weeks ago the powers that be floated a few different ideas to help improve the current competition format of 82 games + 7 game playoffs. The fact that that they are talking openly about it sets off a few alarm bells, but it also tells us how severe some of their current format problems might be impacting fan interest.

1st, let's list off a few problems:

1. 82 game season is too long
Teams have started a kind of rotation for players meaning that there are a lot of nights that the star players might not be on the floor. This dovetails into another issue with 82 games... most of the games don't matter all that much.

2. A playoff series can get stale
Watching the first couple rounds of the playoffs can be a grind. The players, coaches and fans know who the better team is in the first couple rounds. Much of the proceedings are mostly formal. Sure an injury here or there can change it, but even in a close series, we know the winner. There were 82 dang games to sort it out!

3. Tanking/Last picks 1st-ish
When you have a 30 team league and the best way to get better is trying your luck at the lottery system by tanking the season, you have a real problem. Outside of star players sitting out games already, you have nights where teams are taking on zombies.


We'll do the best teams first: Top 8 teams from each conference play in 4 team groups. Winners from the 4 groups play in a playoff-style tournament (7 game series is fine).

So, how would that look right now:

East Group 1
#1 Bucks
#8 Magic
#3 Celtics
#6 Pacers

East Group 2
#2 Raptors
#7 Nets
#4 Heat
#5 76ers


West Group 1
#1 Lakers
#8 Grizzlies
#3 Clippers
#6 Mavericks

West Group 2
#2 Nuggets
#7 Thunder
#4 Jazz
#5 Rockets

Each group will play a double-round robin. That's 6 total games for each team in the group stage. Whoever has the best record advances on the 5 or 7 game series "final 4."


With the top 8 in each conference in the playoffs, the question becomes, what to do with the bottom 7.

It's simple and Adam Silver gets his midseason tournament.

1. The last-place team is replaced by the best G-League team (I don't care if they play in a barn). More on this at the bottom.

2. With the remaining 6 teams (#9 - #15) have a bracket-style tournament to determine the draft order the next season.

3. The winner of each conf bracket will play each other in the final for the #1 pick.

I'm not sure anyone is satisfied with "The Lottery" as it is in its current form. I suppose you could still have one based on the results of this tournament, but I'd rather not. Good players shouldn't be stuck on bad teams. Fans want to see good players be, you know, good. How many careers have we been robbed of?


Makes games in the regular season matter a bit more while retaining the traditional 82 game format, shortens the useless grind that is the 1st round of the playoffs (while not losing inventory), and give poor/middling teams something to play for in the middle of the season.

Everyone will be playing for something. Top to bottom.


Legally, it may be difficult to drop a team out of the NBA, so either owners would have to be on board with that OR the NBA would have to bring the G-League in closer to the mother ship (basically an NBA-2 league, legally).

I love this idea because it gives the NBA a way to expand into growing markets and do it without a lot of risk. It'll also help stabilize the G League a bit. Grow interested in none NBA areas and give fans a great reason to watch. I think with the popularity of basketball in this country, the G-League itself could have lots more teams and tiers.

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