I know when I format my hard-drive the fan gets hit with the proverbial and the drivers no longer work and the bios gets upset and I spend the next few weeks trying to undo the world before getting back to the place I was. So if we do what seems to be right by the world and reformat the playoffs does the same thing happen? Does it make teams like San Antonio and Phoenix easier to beat or do we suddenly have to play the first four games away due to forgetting to include the home court driver?
Okay, perhaps I carried the metaphor further than it's point, but what if we do change the format in the playoffs? This year that makes it more accessible to the better teams and we'd have at least one or two more western teams there. The problem is no system is perfect and strange scenarios affect the way it goes. We could say it simply that we line the teams up linearly from best record to worst and the top 16 get in and match up 1 v 16, 2 v 15 etc regardless of conference. This would involve some real travel issues I guess and they may want to change the home away format back to 2-3-2 to reduce road time. That seems fair, but if that's the case surely all teams should play each other the same number of times regardless of their geographical location - that simply wouldn't work too well with the distances involved and tight timelines.
How about changing the rules so that the division winners stay in the top 4 spots with the best other record from each conference. After that the next 16 teams in the NBA could enter an NCAA type knock-out competition for the remaining 8 spots. Win you advance, lose you go home (single match type affair top rank at home against bottom etc). 1st round selects the teams and then rank and file in order so no-one seems to be disadvantaged? Fairer? Maybe.. more complicated? For sure, but more games mean more money and the bonus would be all but the bottom 6 teams would still have a shot at the prize in the last few days of the season.
I guess we could take it down to 6 or 7 seeds in each conference and then hold wild-card games like the NFL - but are these any fairer in a one-off game than the current system?
Perhaps we should drop the playoffs altogether like a European football (sorry, soccer) league? Or better still drop the idea of competition like modern schooling so that we're just there to take part and not to win (Kobe may not like that too much!).
Actually, I kind of like it the way it is. Sure Golden State may miss the playoffs despite being markedly better than the Atlanta Hawks, but if they played a one-off game to see who was better would GS definitely win every time? For me, Sacremento right now is the best team not heading to the playoffs - but the rule is the same whichever method you follow, if you win enough games through a tough regular season schedule you get a shot at the prize - otherwise we risk playing 82 games just to sort out who plays who.
I've decided not to reformat my hard drive this time, perhaps the NBA would be best sticking to their format too..