If you’re out there and you became an NBA fan this year, you picked the right season to start watching professional basketball – there are as many teams that can hoist the Larry O’ Brien trophy as I can ever remember before. Obviously every season there are 16 teams that vie for the prize during the postseason, but as far as contenders go, that number is north of 10 this year.
As I keep mentioning, parity is the greatest gift that a sports commissioner can ask for because it creates intrigue and entices casual fans. It’s like going to the movies and rooting against the cliché endings because they’re just not that interesting. No one wants to pay money for predictable endings.
Since the 1979-80 season, only nine teams have won NBA titles: Lakers, Celtics, Pistons, Mavericks, Heat, Rockets, Spurs, Sixers and Chicago. Is there any reason for someone to watch this sport?
Well, Adam Silver in his press conference last week suggested that he would be open to realigning the playoff format. This pretty much validates that changes need to be made to combat some of the issues that exist in the league. The one glaring concern is that the Phoenix Suns won 48 games last year and missed the playoffs because of the arduous route that currently exists in the Western Conference, while the Hawks, who were decimated by injuries and dripping with mediocrity, somehow made the playoffs despite only posting a 38-44 record.
Last season, the Hawks became the 15th team over the last two decades to make the playoffs with a sub .500 record. As far as I’m concerned, that’s 15 teams too many as this is an atrocity that should never take place.
If the NBA plans on eliminating conferences and just taking the best 16 teams from the entire league, I would be all for it. Somehow, I don’t see a scenario in this alignment that would allow for teams with losing records to get a crack at the postseason.
How exciting would it be watching Anthony Davis after his monstrous breakout season in the playoffs? After the inauspicious beginning for the Thunder, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are doing all they can to will their team to the promise land. Watching this team in the postseason would be fun too, right? And don’t forget about that young Suns team that is lighting it up down in Phoenix with excellent guard play. All three of these teams deserve to be playoff-bound, but it appears that two are more than likely to miss out on the party.
There are endless possibilities that as an NBA fan would immediately spark your interest, and they would have a chance be first round matchups – Atlanta vs. Phoenix, two teams that are exciting to watch run up and down the court, Atlanta vs. San Antonio, imagine that storylines emanating from this matchup, or even Cleveland vs. Oklahoma City, a tale of two of the NBA’s best players in the game and two of the best point guards. Just thinking about it gives me chills…
As a fan of the NBA, I can vehemently take a stand on this matter. I am sick and tired of watching first-round series that lack entertainment and purpose. Far too many times, the matchups in the Eastern Conference have been lousy and boring – with fans knowing what the outcome would be and in the amount of games it would happen in.
It’s difficult to use Atlanta as the evidence needed to warrant changes being made, given how dominant they’ve been this season, but there’s no reason why a team that went through a stretch of losing 20-of-26 games should even have the chance of playing after the regular season ends.
Another difficulty lies ahead as well if the plan is to enforce this – getting the amount of votes needed to pass this. The owners in the East will more than likely oppose this if they see this will jeopardize their teams postseason chances.
Case and point: This NEEDS to happen. We have a chance to experience parity at it’s best and can see matchups we’ve been itching to see earlier in playoff rounds. Make it happen, Adam Silver. This would be GOLD.