The East vs West debate has raged on for years. For the past 14 years, the Western Conference has been dramatically better than its Eastern counterpart. We've seen people propose getting rid of conferences entirely, but it seems that Adam Silver is looking smaller, and that is playoff reform. Instead of just taking the top 16 teams, however, Silver is looking at a proposal that would continue to reward division champions. He told Comcast SportsNet Bay Area:
"Ultimately we want to see your best teams in the playoffs," Silver said. "And there is an unbalance and a certain unfairness. There is a proposal where the division winners would all automatically go into the playoffs and then you'd seed the next 10 best teams. I think that's the kind of proposal we need to look at. There are travel issues of course, but in this day in age every team of course has their own plane, travels charter. I don't think the discussion should end there. And as I've said, my first year I was studying a lot of these issues and year two is time to take action. It's something I'm going to look at closely with the competition committee. I do think it's an area where we need to make a change."
While this doesn't quite fix the conference imbalance, as the schedules are created with conferences in mind and seemingly some of the Eastern Conference teams could be even lower if they played some of the better Western Conference teams more often, it is a good start. You should have your best teams competing for a championship. If this system were currently in place, and the playoffs started today, here is how the bracket would look, assuming that division champions do not get preferable seeding:
If division winners were granted preferable seeding, the bracket would look only slightly different.
(1) Golden State Warriors vs (16) Oklahoma City Thunder
(8) Los Angeles Clippers vs (9) Dallas Mavericks
(4) Portland Trail Blazers vs (13) Milwaukee Bucks
(5) Toronto Raptors vs (12) Chicago Bulls
(2) Atlanta Hawks vs (15) New Orleans Pelicans
(7) Houston Rockets vs (10) San Antonio Spurs
(3) Memphis Grizzlies vs (14) Phoenix Suns
(6) Cleveland Cavaliers vs (11) Washington Wizards
This could actually wind up being better for some of the lower Eastern Conference teams. Which would you rather have, a higher draft pick or the chance to be swept out of the first round? I would personally take the higher pick every time, even with the whole "anything can happen" idea once you get into the playoffs.
It appears the NBA is definitely planning on making some kind of change, whether it is this plan or something else. So what do you think of this proposed plan?