Silver Ready to Stick It to Divisions
Adam Silver is quite possibly the best thing to happen to basketball since the bottomless hoop.
Unlike his predecessor, Silver is unafraid to tackle controversial issues; eg- take down a racist owner. Silver has also shown a willingness to listen to both the players and the fans when it comes to potential improvements to the league.
One that's become a hot button topic is reformatting of the playoffs.
Earlier this year, Silver commented how he was open to a potential change.
The proposed plan involved the six division winners gaining an automatic playoff berth, followed by the next ten teams with the best records. Silver also stated that Year 1 of his reign was more about studying the game's issues, and Year 2 would be about taking action.
Well, now it's his second year.
This past Wednesday, The Commish stated he isn't inclined to guarantee a preferential playoff spot for division winners. The current model ensures a Top 4 seed to them, regardless of their overall record.
Just such a scenario occurred this past season, where the Portland Trail Blazers captured the fourth seed in the Western Conference playoffs by winning the Northwest Division, even though, record-wise, they should've received the sixth seed.
The outmatched Blazers were summarily bounced in five games by the superior Memphis Grizzlies, who were given home court advantage due to their better record.
Silver acknowledged that it was possible for a division winner to not make the playoffs, but the league calculated that there was less than a 5% chance of it happening.
This could be the first step in eliminating divisions entirely, which would be totally logical if a balanced schedule is implemented.
But here's the issue:
|Baseball implemented six-team divisions in each league after expanding to 24 teams in 1969, because the owners believed it would be untenable to promote a 12th-place team.|
It's a legitimate concern. How do teams expect to sell tickets, advertising, et al to a club buried that far down in the standings?
If Silver can answer that one, radical change may well be forthcoming.