Despite Conferences, Will The 16 Best Teams In The League Compete In The Playoffs Soon?

Photo Credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Despite Conferences, Will The 16 Best Teams In The League Compete In The Playoffs Soon?


It’s no secret that the Western Conference has dominated the Eastern Conference for the better part of this Millennium.

For 19 straight seasons, the Western Conference has had more players on All-NBA Teams than the Eastern Conference. This trend is likely to continue.

The NBA has a parity problem. The West gets stronger and stronger, and the East gets weaker and weaker. This isn’t just a feeling, it is a fact.

This offseason All-Stars Paul George, Paul Millsap, Carmelo Anthony and Jimmy Butler went West, making the conferences even more uneven.

Last season the Western Conference had three 55+ wins teams or more wins, the Eastern Conference number one seeded Celtics had 53, which would have been the No. 4 seed in the West.

Should the NBA change to a simple, and fair format with the 16 best regular season teams competing in the playoffs? NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is continuing to look at possibly reformatting the playoffs, but also says the change would be a lot more complicated.



“Reformatting the playoffs is something we’ll continue to look at,” Silver said. “I think though it would require revisiting the regular-season schedule as well. As I’ve said before, we don’t play a balanced schedule now, as I’m sure you know. And for those that don’t, that means that teams in the East play each other more than they play teams in the West. And our feeling is, if we were going to seed 1-16, we would need to play a balanced schedule to make it fair for everyone if we were going to seed 1-16 in the playoffs. It may be that as we continue to experiment with the number of days over which we can schedule 82 games that it will create more of an opportunity for a balanced schedule.”

“Let me add to that I said the other day [to USA Today] that there’s no magic in an 82-game season,” Silver said. “It’s not a change you’re going to see in the short term, but I think when we step back and look holistically at our schedule and how playoffs are seeded we should look at the entire format. Counter-balancing seeding playoff teams 1-16 is also the desire to create more rest for our players and when possible reduce the amount of travel.

In adding the extra week to the regular season this year, we will be able to eliminate completely four games in five nights. I think it’s the first time in the history of the league we were able to do that. Plus we have back to backs at an all-time low. If we took the existing format, the existing schedule and then we seeded playoffs 1-16, we’d be adding additional travel. You would have teams criss-crossing the country in the first round.”


While the NBA won’t change or revolutionize the conferences and playoffs over night, it still is satisfying to hear that they indeed are thinking about options to make the NBA a fairer league. In the 2014-15 season, the Thunder missed the playoffs with a regular season record of 45-37, while the Nets made it with a record of 38-44.

You may also like...