The era of below .500 Eastern Conference teams making the playoffs might finally be over.
As the three-team race for the final seed in the Western Conference playoffs heats up, there’s bound to be more attention on the imbalance that exists between the NBA’s two conferences. The West has been noticeably stronger for 14 years, but the NBA has remained steadfast in sticking with the current system that sends the top eight teams in each conference to the postseason.
Perhaps that will change sometime soon. In an interview with Warriors broadcasters during Golden State’s game with the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night, Commissioner Adam Silver was asked if the league would look into changing which teams make the playoffs. The question was submitted via the Warriors’ new Facebook Q&A tool. Here’s his response:
“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.”
Silver has publicly discussed several changes during his short time as commissioner, from raising the age limit to enter the draft to a potential midseason tournament.
At the moment, the Suns, Thunder and Pelicans are each above .500 and chasing one playoff spot in the West. Over in the East, the Charlotte Hornets are the No. 7 seed at 21-27 and the Miami Heat are the eighth seed at 21-28. Our own Tom Ziller has offered a proposal to fix conference imbalance.