The David Stern era for the NBA is over in two months. Commish in waiting Adam Silver will be expected to improve the league and give it fresh life. I’m not saying the NBA is in bad shape, I actually think compared to other leagues, it’s one of the best run leagues in sports.
The first priority on Silver’s list might be the state of divisions in the NBA. Under the current system of the NBA playoffs, winning your division ensures you a top four seed in the playoffs. The Boston Celtics currently are 10-13, which is the seventh best winning percentage in the East (sad I know), but would be the fourth seed if the playoffs started today.
Now I know we are months away from the playoffs, but winning a weak division shouldn’t reward you with home-court in the first round over a team that had a better record in a tougher division.
The East is disgusting this year and there’s no way to hide it. The eighth seed in the West would currently be the third seed in the East. That just isn’t right.
The most likely chance the NBA will make is make seeding for the playoffs 1-8 based on record in each conference. I think you should still have divisions, and give division winners banners and such, but not an automatic top four seed.
There’s one drastic change that might be for the better: one bracket with the best 16 teams. I think this is best way the NBA can go to ensure a very competitive NBA season. LeBron James has basically said that getting the number one seed in the East isn’t a priority this season and that health is.
Translation: We can beat the Pacers on the road; let them work hard for that No. 1 seed. We can clinch the No. 2 seed early in a weak Eastern Conference and as long as we are healthy for the playoffs, we expect to be in the Finals.
That’s not what fans want to hear when they pay inflated prices to see LeBron and friends come to their city and play their team. Dwyane Wade is obviously on cruise control and saving himself for the playoffs. I don’t blame him at all because with the current system, it’s the smartest way to go to win a championship in their situation.
Why not make the playoffs the best 16 teams, no matter what conference. If you are the best record in the West or East for the regular season, you get a banner for that. If the playoffs were 16 seeds, the Heat would be the No. 5 seed right now.
I don’t think the Heat would take the season for granted if teams like Indiana, San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Houston, and Portland had home court over them.
This also ensures that the best and most deserving teams will be in the playoffs. The best example right now is that the Charlotte Bobcats (10-11) are the fifth seed right now in the East and the Warriors (12-10) are the ninth seed in the West. Not taking anything away from the Bobcats because they deserve to make the playoffs in the East if they have a good enough record, but a team like the Warriors should not be faulted for playing in the tough Western Conference.
Another quick way Silver can become liked real quickly as Commish is to get a team back in Seattle ASAP. Do what you have to do; maybe the 1-16 playoff system helps since you don’t have to worry about uneven conference teams. The fans of Seattle deserve basketball. They are crazy for the Seahawks and all that passion used to be, and still can be, for basketball.
Silver also needs to allow high school players to enter the draft. If an 18 year-old freak basketball player is ready for the NBA, colleges should not extort him for one season. It’s unnecessary and makes no sense. If you are the best actor at age 18, you get major movie roles.
Athletes are entertainers and deserve to be able to take their talents to the professional level as soon as they are ready. Wasting a year at college and risking injury is not best for the player. There’s enough advanced scouting about not only a player’s ability, but personal life, for an NBA team to make the decision that he is ready to be drafted.
For the All-Star game, the NBA should adopt the NHL system and make it a glorified pick-up game. Team Kobe or Team Durant vs. Team LeBron. They must alternate picks from each conference to ensure players from different conferences are meshed together. Silver should also make actual All-Stars compete in the fan competitions. I want to see the best in the world do these competitions, not Gerald Green and James White.
I also think the NBA lottery system has to go. It’s too fishy and doesn’t make sense. I know why they do it; to make sure teams don’t tank and lose on purpose. Hey news flash here, teams do it anyway! If the top 16 teams make the playoffs, the league is going to be more competitive just off that.
The Cavs had the third worst record last season but ended up with the number one pick. If that weren’t the case, Anthony Bennett would have not been the number one pick. I don’t know why he was picked number one in the first place, but hey that’s a story for another day.
To sum it up, a sixteen-team playoff bracket. NBA back in Seattle. Get rid of the One-And-Done. All-Star Draft. No more lottery.
Do it Adam Silver. Thank me later.