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This week: each semifinal series features a team that never stood a chance of winning a title, and we’re here to tell you why they were always doomed. Plus, why this whole postseason tournament is a sham anyway. No one wins the championship!
Time for a Change
by Derek James (@DerekJamesNBA)
Are you a fan of a Western Conference team that missed the playoffs because they weren’t one of the top-eight teams in the conference, but still won 40+ games? Does it make you angry to see less-deserving teams in the East get a playoff spot despite not being one of the league’s 16 best? If so, I am here to tell you that you are not alone.
The Western Conference was far superior to the East this season. Dallas, the eighth seed this season, had to win 49 games to barely squeak into the postseason. In the east, the Hawks were eighth, and 49 wins would have been good enough for the third seed. So, teams like the Hawks and Bobcats made the playoffs while the Suns and Timberwolves found themselves on the outside looking in.
You would think that the East’s top-teams — Indiana and Miami – would be able to represent themselves well; yet the Pacers have continued to be streaky, and the Heat laid a dud in Brooklyn. Clearly, the conference is not to be trusted for any reason.
Coming into Sunday night’s Pacers-Wizards contests, the one-seeded Pacers had a 49 percent chance to beat the fifth-ranked Wizards. Are you kidding me? That is what we should be expecting out of a number one seed? Game one aside, the series has been a joke unto itself.
The Pacers won game two 86-82; then took game three 85-63; and turned around and dropped a deuce for much of game four before pulling a win out of their hind ends.
It’s not just this year. This is the way it’s been for years and yet the NBA has done nothing about it. The playoffs are supposed to be a showcase for the league’s best talent, yet we’ve been subjected to mediocre Bucks and Sixers teams while stars like Kevin Love are denied the league’s biggest stage. It’s as if the NBA refuses to acknowledge that it has a problem that needs to be fixed.
You may be asking yourself, “What is that fix, Derek?” Well, let me tell you.
Simply eliminate the conference seedings and put the league’s best 16 teams in the postseason. This year we could have had Thunder-Suns among a slew of other far more entertaining matchups than Bulls-Wizards. For teams, the focus shifts from being one of the best teams in the league rather than just their conference and may prevent any late season coasting from contented top teams.
It’s an obvious solution and one thing league clearly fears making because “That’s the way we’ve always done it,” but when it’s time for change, it’s time for change. Too long have we suffered through lackluster matchups while fantasizing about how much better the playoffs would be if one of the West’s teams that didn’t made the playoffs had they played in the other conference. It’s a solution that makes even the most devoted hoops fans no longer question their loyalty, which is the only right thing to do.
Come on, NBA. Do the right thing. It’s time.
Tags: Bradley Beal Brooklyn Nets Damian Lillard Indiana Pacers John Wall Kevin Durant Kevin Garnett LaMarcus Aldridge Lebron James Los Angeles Clippers Miami Heat Oklahoma City Thunder Paul George Paul Pierce Portland Trail Blazers Ray Allen Roy Hibbert Russell Westbrook San Antonio Spurs Tim Duncan Tony Parker Washington Wizards