Blogtable: Playoff Tweaks

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.

Baseball just added another wild-card team to its playoffs, setting up a one-game winner-take-all between wild cards. Any ideas to spice up the NBA postseason?

Steve Aschburner: I’ll give you one old idea, one new and neither necessarily original. I liked the old best-of-five format in the first round – it made 1-8 or 2-7 upsets more feasible and it forced an urgency on the whole tournament that got everyone’s juices flowing. Then I’d like to see the entire 16-team field seeded regardless of conference affiliation. The schedule this season has been a crazy quilt anyway, so it would be the perfect postseason in which to introduce such a format. If the people’s choice for a Finals would be Miami vs. Chicago, why should that have to happen one round early? (I know, OKC is absolutely worthy, too. This is just a fer-instance.) Combine these two format changes and you’d get the bottom teams out quickly while amping up drama in those 8-9 and 7-10 matchups.

Fran Blinebury: Make the first round shorter again.  Live really dangerously and go back to the best-of-3 mini-series.  The top seeds still won the overwhelming number of series, but it was always fun to see them sweat.

Scott Howard-Cooper: No spice. Playing the games will be enough, just as it was last season and the season before. Miami, defending-champ Dallas, Chicago, OKC, L.A. x 2, San Antonio – just play the games. Baseball: The people who brought you an All-Star game with ridiculously high implications for an exhibition event and has different rules in different leagues. Nothing to poach there.

Shaun Powell: In the NBA postseason, less is more. Go back to the best-of-five for the first round, and tell the TV networks to stop demanding so many off-days in the conference semis and finals. Nothing disrupts the flow and energy like a series that plays on Tuesday and doesn’t resume until Saturday. That’s too long of a gap. The lockout seemed shorter.

John Schuhmann: Does the NBA postseason need spicing up? I really don’t think so, but two ideas intrigue me. One: Seeding teams 1 through 16, regardless of conference. Two: Changing The Finals back to a 2-2-1-1-1 format. But for both, I would be one of the many people complaining about the extra travel. So, until teleportation becomes reality, I think we should keep it the way it is.

Sekou Smith: They tinker in baseball because they are desperate to create buzz. Why would the NBA mess with near perfection? Other than maybe shortening first-round series to a best-of-five format, just to increase the pressure on both teams, there is no need to mess with the best postseason in all of professional sports. Eight teams on each side is plenty. Last season’s playoffs proved that few do it better, at any level, than the NBA. Where else can you get three solid months of drama, intrigue and win-or-go-home basketball from the finest athletes on the planet? Do like Danny Ainge and leave well enough alone this time.


  1. Dras says:

    The only thing I don’t like is having to wait 3 days before the next game in a series. I am happy for 7 game first rounds,I don’t love the 2-3-2 format ,but the finals should be different than the other rounds in some way. Besides, regardless of where and when the team who wins 4 games is the Champion. Also the 2 teams that make it to the finals are crowned conference champions. It would be a shame to do away with such traditions. It would be very weird for a west team to be eastern conference champions. As things are now there are still upsets, teams win based on matchup advantages,key injuries, guys stepping up or not showing up, etc. The history of the NBA should not be altered by unnecessary changes. Teams like OKC;LAL;LAC;MIA;CHI and players like KD( great player but has not had an epic playoff run yet), Kobe(top 10 all time but sometimes shoot too much) , Lebron(my favorite player right now but played horrible in the 2011 finals) need to put on their best performances in the Playoffs and then everything will be as advertised. . . AMAZING!

  2. For two ways to boost the game is #1. NBA and the team owners lost some money in the begging with lock out. In order to make that money back and more money in the future, add more teams to playoff like NFL. First round 7 games, second round 7 games conference finals 5 games and NBA finals just three games and all games in one town and its go to the best record holder in the regular season. If both team tie then token toes. This will boost more game Spirit in the society.

    #2. The town which host NBA finals make more money and its going to be a another form of an all star week-end for three days. game one Thursday night game #2 Friday and Saturday night rest and final is on Sunday evening. Economically more benefit for NBA, teams players and staff.

    I am sorry I am not an economist or NBA affiliate. This is just my point of view. Sorry for my language.

  3. I was always dreaming of a personal arena for the NBA Finals just like in the All-Star Game different cities every year just don’t pick the two cities that battle

  4. Rocketfan says:

    i love the idea of the 1- 16 seeding. it pains me to see the rockets not make the playoffs for 2 straight years just because they are in the west while those below .500 teams in the east get to play in the playoffs and get sweeped easily by top teams.

  5. Tomahawk Jones says:

    I’ve always liked the 1 – 16 seeds, regardless of conference.

    I say you can still keep the divisions, give each winner a spot in the playoffs, but then seed according to record only.

    I like the playoffs as they are now too, but I’d prefer the above.

    And yes, entirely too many breaks in between games throughout…

  6. How about doing a wildcard playoff too? It’s better for teams vying for 8th place to go through this phase (esp. if they’re tied after the regular season).

  7. Pokie says:

    I’m not sure if the owners will ever go for the top 16 teams idea. I like it. I think that it is a fair and just way to compete for a championship. If that could not be done then I think that teams that finish with a better record than teams that make it in the opposite conference should be compensated. Give any team that looses revenue in the current system (home playoff games are revenue) an extra First Round Draft pick for missing the playoffs. Or, even better, let the team with the best record decide if they want to keep the extra pick or compete, if they decide to compete, the pick goes to the team they replace. The team that deserves to compete gets to compete. The team that is almost ready for the playoffs gets stronger. And travel be hanged: the only format for a seven game series is 2-2-1-1-1.

  8. danny says:

    lol for all the players who said a 1-16 format, you guys are really dumb.. first of all these nba players are exhausted from playing the season, they dont need extra games to wore them out or get any more injures, infact prolong their run at a championship. We just watch these games, we dont play it so we dont know how really hard their working. Second, shorter games first game would defintly spice things up and send an urgency to the top seeds, no more if we lose this game we can make it up next game, u gotta win from the begining you cant hold anything back. ya the finals should be 2-2-1-1-1 cause one team gets a home-game advantage..

  9. nsjdnasjkn says:

    Changing the finals format is a MUST. Right now the with a game less @ home has the adavange… thats disgusting

  10. FACT says:

    Or my favorite clash with the other conference. FIBA Basketball Style

    Round 1

    Group A
    Chicago Bulls vs Houston Rockets
    San Antonio Spurs vs Boston Celtics
    Orlando Magic vs Memphis Grizzlies
    L.A. Clippers vs Indiana Pacers

    Group B
    Oklahoma Thunder vs New York Knicks
    Miami Heat vs Denver Nuggets
    L.A. Lakers vs Atlanta Hawks
    Philadelphia 76ers vs Dallas Mavericks

    Round 2
    Group A
    Chicago Bulls vs L.A. Clippers
    San Antonio Spurs vs Orlando Magic

    Group B
    Oklahoma Thunder vs Philadelphia 76ers
    Miami Heat vs L.A. Lakers

    Round 2
    Group A Finals Chicago Bulls vs San Antonio Spurs

    Group B Finals Oklahoma Thunder vs Miami Heat

    NBA Finals San Antonio Spurs vs Miami Heat

  11. FACT says:


    The playoffs match is based on the west and east conference. Having 10 representatives from the west vs 6 of the east would be a travesty and owners wouldn’t like it. The divison still plays its role that’s why another team that supposed to be at the bottom is ranked higher.

    After getting the top 8 of each conference, both teams where reseeded base on their win-lose percentage only.

    Round 1
    (1) Chicago Bulls vs New York Knicks (16)
    (2) Miami Heat vs Houston Rockets (15)
    (3) Oklahoma City vs Boston Celtics (14)
    (4) San Antonio Spurs vs Denver Nuggets (13)
    (5) Orlando Magic vs Atlanta Hawks (12)
    (6) L.A Lakers vs Philadelphia 76ers (11)
    (7) Indiana Pacers vs Memphis Grizzlies (10)
    (8) L.A. Clippers vs Dallas Mavericks (9)

  12. Number1HoustonRocketsFan says:

    The playoff bracket should be changed. The format should be 1 vs 5, 2 vs 6 3 vs 7, and 4 vs 8 to make it a little more competitive.

  13. Max says:

    When the team begins in 10th place in the East everyone looks down the bench at the coach. They look and wonder what the hell is he doing. He has all the pieces, now put them together.

    To read more go to

  14. JC says:

    If the playoffs were today (16 teams seeding scenario):

    Oklahoma City
    San Antonio
    L.A. Clippers
    L.A. Lakers
    New York

    It would be awesome to see the match-ups that could come out of this format (if the playoff were today and using this format this year).

    • JC says:

      ps. This is an example with the standings as they are…

      • lordkrimson says:

        Houston & Utah would be in New York and Boston would not. Memphis would be in front of Indiana. It’d be pretty much West heavy which is why its not the best Idea. But here is a thought , worse records play an Ncaa style tourney for the number 1 pick. Worst record gets a bye and throw a d-league(champ?) team in there for balance and scouting… that instead of the lottery, no more tanking and new streams of revenue for struggling teams.

  15. Geo says:

    If the 9 seed of either conference has a better record than the 8 seed of the other, then they play for the 8 seed of that conference. So if a 9 seed from the west beats the East 8 then they get in but have to play the 1 seed from the east. Not sure how they would work out the whole travel thing though.

    • Rutger says:

      In this season that could mean new york vs minnesota.
      If minnesota wins they could play chicago, that ain’t to far to travel.

  16. Leonardo Santiago says:

    Seed teams 1-16 and 2-2-1-1-1 playoff format. I believe if we had a shorter Regular Season the complain about travel should decrease. Instead of 82 almost boring regular season games, 66 are just enough. One good thing about the lockout was that.

  17. 2gILD says:

    Don’t appreciate cooper’s comment about baseball allstar game. By giving an allstar a home field advantage in WS, it promotes competition whereas NBA all star is just a celebration. In any professional sports, COMPETITION is what it matters. I still don’t get why america still plays NBA all star NHL all star and especially pro bowl. Also out of 30 teams, only 8 (now 10) makes it to the postseason whereas half of the teams in NBA is in a playoff. This is why winning penant (regular season) is so important baseball and there is something to learn here (the importance of regular season).

  18. Having the remaining teams be reseeded for the second round is an interesting idea. That’s how the NFL rolls.

    I do think the first round should be five games.

    I also agree with the weird days off in conference finals. What gives? Let’s go back to every other day. If a game is the same night as some awards show, too bad. The NBA is the NBA. #ballnight

    • mavs-fan says:

      But the NFL also has much less games in the playoffs and the difference between a 1 and 6 in the NFL is much less than the difference between a 1 and 8 in the NBA. Plus the 1 and 2 seeds in the NFL get a first round bye so both first rounds in the NFL playoffs aren’t all that connected. The first round is like a game to actually get to the playoffs, which is when the 1 and 2 are introduced

  19. Haydz says:

    I dont like the idea of the 1-16 seeded teams, because then the only thing a Conference is good for is East vs West at the All-Star weekend, and we all know how important that game has become *rolls eye*.

    Leave the playoff format as it is. I dont understand why sports feel they have to evolve, even if nothing is wrong with the current format. You cant beat how it is.

    The only plausible idea thrown around, or that I can think of that makes any sense is making the first round a 5 game series again. In saying that, I liked the change to 7 game series – it means more basketball!

    • mavs-fan says:

      I agree 100%. it’s perfect the way it is, so leave it the way it is. a 5-game first round series is the only slight improvement I can think of because it would give every team a sense of urgency in the first round.

  20. Tiger says:

    I think they should just reseed in the 2nd round. They shouldhave the best remaining seed play the lowest remaining seed.If 7 beats a 2, while the 1 beats an 8, 3 beats 6, and 5 beats 4. It should be 1 vs 7 and 3 vs 5, for example.

    • mavs-fan says:

      No because then if the 8 upsets the 1, the 8 still ends up potentially facing a 2 or 3 seed next so they always end up with the short end of the stick.

  21. Bok says:

    1. Pool top 16 teams regardless of the conference so best teams in the league will have a “fair” chance.

    2. Shorter day offs.

    3. Best of 7 all throughout the playoffs (2-2-1-1-1) format applies in finals though.

  22. willie says:

    give more advantage for the top 2 teams of the conferences, giving the teams more motivation to be at the top of their conferences. just having mere homecourt advantage for #1 against #8 is just not enough. the # 1 and 2 teams should already have a 1-0 advantage before the series starts, thereby really having an advantage for the #1 and 2 seeds which they earned throughout the season. this is only for the 1st round though. 1-16 is intriguing, thereby eliminating the taught of a #10 western team having a higher record than a #5 team but they’re absent in the playoffs. therefore, the west may have 12 teams ing the playoffs and 4 teams in the east…

    otherwise, if these can’t be imposed, no need to change. playoffs now are exciting as it is

  23. random guy says:

    Finals format back to 2-2-1-1-1
    No to that 1-16 team format. That is for college. Then the conferences would be POINTLESS!
    And if you’re in a bad conference, then that is something fans get excited about.
    Maybe first round being 2-2-1 again, but then again, there have been two 8 seeds overcoming 1 seeds in the past 5 or 6 years, so that may not even be necessary.
    And then I agree with the finals things. No more than 2 days in between games. 2 is plenty to rest and gameplan.
    If one of the tv companies is copmlaining about the schedule, tell them “Too bad, we’ll just find another station

  24. grobson23 says:

    What about keeping two conferences, but let the higher seeds choose who they play, So for instance, in the West, if OKC ends up as No 1 seed, they choose which team they wanna play in the first round (maybe choosing only from the 5th-8th best records). The team they choose becomes the number 8 seed. Then the second seed chooses from the remaining teams, who becomes the 7th seed, etc.

    Would allow the number 1 seed the advantage of avoiding a team that snuck in as 8th seed but may be red hot – or conversely they might wanna choose a team that’s just had a significant injury.

    Plus extra spice – imagine how amped the 8th seed would be to face number 1 and beat them so they could turn around and say, “you thought you could beat us…?”

  25. wetz says:

    Another suggestion:
    Why not allow the top 3 team (or top 7 team in 1-16 format) to choose their first round opponent from the bottom half (with the better ranked choosing first and so on). This way, there are no more positioning for playoff spots and the top team will have the advantage to get the best matchup for them and at the same time it is a very good motivator for the lower ranked team to prove the other team wrong and make them pay. This can go on for the second round (top team pick) etc ..

    • big boy says:

      I love it. I can already imagine the picked team´s locker room talk “they want to play us!”…………
      it adds the personall intrigue that Boxing has, the “you and me, right now” feal

  26. Ben says:

    Reducing the first round to 5 would be a worse outcome, I think 7-game first rounds were a positive step for the NBA. I agree with Sekou – why mess with near perfection – but the idea of seeding 1-16 has some appeal, as we hardly get to see exciting west-east matchups as it is – the prospect of more of them is exciting.

  27. SYDALE says:

    Leave it alone…

  28. I love the idea of the 1-16 seed playoff setup, but I also like the idea of a “wildcard playoff” could have the #8 and #9 ranked teams from each conference play a three game “play in” series with the winner facing the top seed in the conference..could be fun

  29. dewayne says:

    i agree with the 1 – 16 seed. it would be nice to see the best teams from different conferences play each other in the playoffs. plus it wouldn’t matter what satrs are on what teams as they all get seeded differently. miami could get knock out of playoffs by okc or who ever on that side instead of ruling the east for the next 5 years. other teams on the east dont have a chance to make it to finals unless u beat the heat shouldn’t be like that as diffferent teams match up differently with each other. it would stop one domminate team on one side like the lakers were. what would happen if it was a 1-16 seeding. mavericks would have knock out miami if they would have played on same side of the board. there would have been a different team at the finals. it would be fun and excited to watch as you would not have a prediction until the brackets where arraigned at playoff time, intead already knowing the teams are going to be at before the season even starts.