There are some who believe the NBA should eliminate conference affiliation in the postseason and seed playoff teams based on record. Silver believes there are challenges to that concept. “I know that from a fan standpoint, there is real appeal to this notion of seed your teams 1 through 16 going into the playoffs and possibly two Western Conference teams could meet in the Finals or two Eastern Conference teams, and where we ended up was that — again, it relates directly to the resting issue and injury data, is that we would be dramatically increasing travel because if we’re going to seed 1 through 16 we would need to have more of a balanced schedule throughout the year,” Silver said. “That would result in more travel. You could have a Boston-Golden State first-round matchup in the playoffs. It’s something we continue to look at.
The NBA tried this in a pilot program at Las Vegas Summer League last season and distributed the numbers to media and teams there. The reaction was positive, and the NBA decided to compile the stats in games that count. “We decided to take this to the next level,” said Evan Wasch, the NBA’s senior vice president of basketball strategy and analytics.
One professional basketball league in the United States will seed playoff teams 1-8 regardless of conference. That will be the WNBA, starting this season, and that’s just one of several playoff format changes the league will introduce this season.
Other changes: · The number of playoff rounds will increase to four from three, and the top two seeds receive byes to the semifinals; · Teams will be reseeded after each round; · The first and second rounds are single elimination, NCAA tournament style. In the first round, the No. 5 seed plays at home the No. 8 seed, and the No. 6 seed at home plays the No. 7 seed. In the second round, the No. 3 seed will play host to the lowest-seeded winner from the first-round, and the No. 4 seed will play host to the other first-round winner.