Top 16 Teams Playoff Format
*Photo via NBA.com
Throughout the NBA there has been a lot of talk about changing the current playoff format. NBA commissioner Adam Silver has gone as far to say that division winners should NOT be guaranteed a playoff spot, but that’s it.
So far, there hasn’t been any talk about taking it a step further and letting the top 16 teams in the entire league make the playoffs, but it’s an interesting idea that many NBA fans would like to see . Even a few NBA coaches have said they wouldn't be opposed to the idea, including Gregg Popovich.
Here is what Pop had to say:
"I just think it would be more interesting, because you'd have more good teams or teams that performed better, and I think it's more fair," said Popovich, whose Spurs have won five championships since 1999. "If you can take the top 16 teams, you just do it. It's better competition for the fans. It's the best teams. It's fair. … It's a good enough notion that it should definitely be talked about."- via USA Today Sports
If the change did happen, there would still be a Western and Eastern Conference throughout the season; but when the playoffs started, the seeding woud be based on the best record between both conferences.
For years, the West has been the premier NBA conference and it’s time to actually award the organizations that perform better throughout the season. Based off this year’s records, there would be 11 West and five East teams that made the playoffs.
Now, here comes the part where readers and watchers will be drooling over playoff play.
Just imagine these first round matchups:
1. Golden State Warriors vs. 16. Phoenix Suns, 2. Atlanta Hawks vs. 15. Milwaukee Bucks, 3. Houston Rockets vs. 14. Oklahoma City Thunder, 4. Los Angeles Clippers vs. 13. New Orleans Pelicans
5. San Antonio Spurs vs. 12. Washington Wizards, 6. Memphis Grizzlies vs. 11. Toronto Raptors, 7. Cleveland Cavaliers vs. 10. Dallas Mavericks and 8. Portland Trail Blazers vs. 9. Chicago Bulls
Looking at these star-studded matchups gives off a ‘utopia’ feeling. This would be the fairest way to seed the postseason, but it would also be incredibly exciting. No longer would fans have to suffer through the 8 and 7 seeds in the East being blown out. The best teams would truly make the postseason.
Hypothetically, the Warriors would defeat the Suns in a fast paced matchup in six. The young and talented Bucks would give Atlanta a run for their money but would fall short in seven. The Rockets and the Thunder matchup would be filled with stellar star play where James Harden would face his old teammate Russell Westbrook. To be honest the winner could be either team, but I see Harden getting revenge and winning the series in seven to teach the Thunder’s organization they made the wrong move by trading him. Lob City would defeat the Pelicans in six.
On the other side, the Spurs would tame a thriving Wizards team in six. Memphis would put the clamps on the Raptors with aggressive defensive play in five. LeBron James would lead the Cavaliers to a series win over the Mavs in six. Then the only lower seed to win its series would be the Bulls in a tough outing over the TrailBlazers in seven.
Now, to expedite this process; 1. Golden State vs. 9. Chicago, 2. Atlanta vs. 7. Cleveland,
3. Houston vs. 6. Memphis, and 4. Los Angeles Clippers vs. 5. San Antonio
The duo matchups of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson vs. Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler would be interesting, but the Warriors would pull through in six. The Cavaliers would beat Atlanta in five. The Grizzlies would upset the Rockets and bang up on the weak post play of Houston’s big men in six. The Spurs would figure it out and reverse this year’s results and beat the Clippers in seven as Chris Paul would miss the game winning shot.
1.Golden State vs. 7. Cleveland and 5. San Antonio vs. 6. Memphis
In a NBA finals rematch the Warriors would cruise to a series win in six, but James would put up triple double numbers once again. The Spurs would come out of a 12 round boxing match with the Grizzlies and win the series in seven.
Now, the matchup we’ve all been waiting for, 1. Golden State vs. 5. San Antonio
This is a chess match where the head coach of the Spurs and teacher Greg Popovich would be facing his old student/player who helped him win two NBA championships, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr.
This series will go move for move and each coaching change will prove to make the difference. Popovich’s decision to put long armed Kawhi Leonard on Curry in hopes of containing him will prevail as the Spurs win the series in seven making them back-to-back NBA champions.