by Mario "Game" Granata
The NBA showcases some of the most phenomenal athletes on earth, the best of the best, so why is it that on a yearly basis, there are teams that make the playoffs that have no business being there. Over the past 10 years, there have been teams that have made the playoffs at the 8th seed (mostly in the Eastern Conference) that have no business being there. Should the NBA reformat their playoff system?
There is no question that some of the most incredible athletes walking the earth reside in the NBA. Speed, quickness, strength, and body control, that is only rivaled by Olympic gymnasts, so why are there teams in the NBA that make the playoffs with a losing record? If the NBA, more importantly the NBA Playoffs want to showcase the best of the best, why are there teams that compete for a title with losing records? In the NFL, we recently saw the Seattle Seahawks, win their division with a 7-9 record AND defeat the defending Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints, because they were afforded a home playoff game. Well, the NFL rant will have to wait, because this is strictly talking about the NBA.
For the past decade, minus the shortened season of 2011-2012 and the 2004-2005 regular season, the Eastern Conference has had teams in the playoffs as the 8th, and sometimes the 7th, seed make it to the post season, while some teams in the Western Conference had better records and were going home when the season concluded. Does the NBA need to reformat their playoff system? The answer is yes. Taking a look back at some of the teams that have made the playoffs will make one shake their head that they were allowed to compete for a title.
Below are the East teams that made the playoffs, their seeds, and the West teams who missed.
'13-'14 - East, Atlanta 8th, 38-44. West, Phoenix, 48-34.
'12-'13 - East, Milwaukee 8th, 38-44. West, Utah, 43-39.
'11-'12 - Shortened Season
'10-'11 - East, Indiana 8th, 37-45. West, Houston, 43-39.
'09-'10 - East, Chicago 8th, 41-41. West, Houston, 42-40.
'08-'09 - East, Detroit 8th, 39-43. West, Phoenix, 46-36 (would have been 5th seed in East)
'07-'08 - East, Philadelphia 7th, 40-42, Atlanta 8th, 37-45. West, Golden State, 48-34 (would've been 4th in East)
'06-'07 - East, Orlando 8th, 40-42.
'05-'06 - East, Milwaukee 8th, 40-42.
'04-'05 - East, New Jersey 8th, 42-40. West, Minnesota, 44-38 (would've been 6th in East)
'03-'04 - East, New York 7th, 39-43, Boston 8th, 36-46. West, Utah, 42-40 (would've been 3rd or 4th in East)
The NBA can keep their divisions, keep their conferences, but when it comes to post-season play, the teams who have the best records overall should be the ones who play on, because of once simple reason; they have earned it. I, as a fan, am shaking my head at some of the teams who missed the playoffs from the West, so I can't imagine what the players of those teams are thinking. This is just the tip of the iceberg for changes that should be implemented in sports, and I am not limiting the changes to the NBA. The Arizona Cardinals went 10-6 this past season in one of the toughest divisions in the NFL, and even they missed the playoffs.
Adopt a system that includes the 16 best records in the NBA and have a tournament system like the NCAA. The NCAA has March Madness, so the NBA can adopt April Mayhem, or whatever. When it comes to the playoffs, the best of the best should compete for the title, because they have earned the right to. They say that NBA action is Fantastic...unless you happen to be on the short end of the stick.