Bleacher Report: Are the Lakers a playoff team? Michael Beasley: As of now, we’re out, according to all the polls. Rightfully so. But I think we’re a team that will be able to decide our own fate by how hard we work and how much we’re willing to sacrifice physically and mentally. I’m not going to put my foot in my mouth and say we’re going to win 25 championships or 75 games, no. But I’m confident that we got a group of guys that wants to play basketball the right way, wants to win and work hard. With that being said, I think we can be exactly where we want to be at the end of the year.
Yet there’s also no denying that there are some real obstacles to ditching the practice of seeding playoff teams 1 through 8 by conference and instituting a 1-to-16 seeding protocol based purely on overall record. Obstacle No. 1: League officials, based on a study of historical data, estimate that the change would increase the cumulative travel for the 16 playoff teams by more than 40 percent every postseason.
Obstacle No. 2: Almost every schedule-related change implemented by the league office in recent years has been motivated by a push to prioritize player health and to chip away at the various factors — too much travel, too many back-to-back games, too many unholy stretches of four games in five nights — that make the current 82-game regular-season schedule the dreaded grind that it is. Adding an estimated 40,000 miles of cumulative playoff travel to the roughly 90,000 miles last season’s 16 playoff clubs logged would work against all those measures.
And perhaps the biggest obstacle: N.B.A. Commissioner Adam Silver cannot unilaterally change the league’s playoff format or seeding procedures, even if he wanted to. League rules dictate that a two-thirds vote of N.B.A. owners would be required to approve such an overhaul. That’s 20 owners out of 30. So even if 15 out of 15 owners in the West were prepared to vote in favor of conference-free playoff seeding, where would Silver find five in the East willing to co-sign?