Fixing the NBA Playoffs: Redeux

Word around the campfire suggests that the NBA is looking into ideas of how to tweak their playoffs, as early as this season when play resumes July 31st. Could the solution be this simple?

I wrote a few seasons ago about how the first round of the NBA Playoffs didn’t matter. That ultimately, every champion always comes down to a team seeded 1-4, from each conference:

Just look at the history of the Finals and who has actually gotten to compete for a championship (I will spare you all of the repeat Warriors vs. Cavaliers series, which have all been #1 vs. #1 or #2):

2014 – #1 San Antonio Spurs vs. #1 Miami Heat

2013 – #2 San Antonio Spurs vs. #1 Miami Heat

2012 – #2 Oklahoma City Thunder vs. #2 Miami Heat

2011 – #3 Dallas Mavericks vs. #2 Miami Heat

2010 – #1 Los Angeles Lakers vs. #4 Boston Celtics

2009 – #1 Los Angeles Lakers vs. #3 Orlando Magic

2008 – #1 Los Angeles Lakers vs. #1 Boston Celtics

2007 – #3 San Antonio Spurs vs. #2 Cleveland Cavaliers

2006 – #4 Dallas Mavericks vs. #2 Miami Heat

2005 – #2 San Antonio Spurs vs. #2 Detroit Pistons

2004 – #2 Los Angeles Lakers vs. #3 Detroit Pistons

I then hastily proposed that the league should only allow four teams to compete in the NBA Playoffs. I had the right idea, but it was a bad decision. In my defense, I was so sick of watching the first round of the 2018 Playoffs, I’m surprised I didn’t propose something more drastic.

To their credit, the NBA at least recognizes that their playoff format is broken, because in November, they announced that they are toying with ways to fix it. Of the proposed “sweeping, dramatic changes to the league calendar”, the league will entertain ideas that include:

  1. A reseeding of the four conference finalists
  2. A 30-team in-season tournament
  3. A post-season play-in

Since the NBA abruptly ended their season this past March, The Ringers’ own Kevin O’Connor has recently written why he believes a new proposed idea involving a World Cup style Group Selection could work in place of the current playoff structure.

Now, let me explain to you why each idea is stupid:

Continue reading “Fixing the NBA Playoffs: Redeux”

Underrated: Stockton to Malone

The greatest duo in basketball history were simply playing a better, smarter game against their opponents

I recently entertained an alternate dimension in which Michael Jordan never existed. I came to the conclusion that Karl Malone’s legacy was tossed aside because he never won a championship, even though it was one of the greatest players who ever lived that was standing in his way:

    And lastly, Karl Malone becomes the undeniable player of Jordan’s era, securing two straight NBA championships, five scoring championships, three consecutive MVP awards, and (probably) two straight Finals MVP awards.

I ended the post stating – quite matter-of-factly – that Malone’s Utah Jazz would have no problem securing the 1997 and 1998 NBA championships from whomever emerged as Eastern Conference champion each season.

And this decision was easy for me to make because Malone also had John Stockton as a teammate, and because they both shared these three special traits:

Continue reading “Underrated: Stockton to Malone”

Nostra-Dan-us’ Way Too Early 2020 NBA Playoff Predictions

Yeah, I broke my crystal ball, but it never really worked in the first place

If you’ve been following my writing, you’d know that last year I incorrectly predicted the Golden State Warriors to three-peat as NBA champions. Not just once, but twice; Therefore, I really have no business trying to do this a second time.

But, I did correctly nail the Eastern Conference semi-final matchups, and I even predicted that the Raptors would beat the 76ers in seven games.

Plus, writing this piece is just too much damn fun.

So, call me now, readers, as I, Nostra-Dan-us, gaze into this murky crystal ball of mine. This now cracked, and spotted crystal ball, that no matter how many times I wash it in my kitchen sink, it just will not get clear! Maybe if I did the dishes first?

Follow me and my predictions, all the way into the NBA playoffs!

Continue reading “Nostra-Dan-us’ Way Too Early 2020 NBA Playoff Predictions”

What If: Michael Jordan Never Existed?

Of course Karl Malone is the one who snaps him away

Earlier this year, Michael Jordan was asked which record would be harder to break: Russell Westbrook’s consecutive games with a triple-double, or Harden’s consecutive games with 30 points or more?

The G.O.A.T.’s answer?

Michael Jordan won six championships in six tries – collecting all six Finals MVP’s – earned five regular season MVP’s, a DPOY, three steals titles, and ten scoring titles. Quite simply, he dominated the era he played in.

Now, what if a player this dominant simply didn’t exist? Who collects the accolades that Michael Jordan earned?

Let’s start with divvying up the scoring titles:

Continue reading “What If: Michael Jordan Never Existed?”

Why Team USA Will Lose the FIBA World Cup

Every hoop head on God’s green Earth is expecting Team USA to take the gold in the upcoming FIBA World Cup tournament beginning August 31st. Don’t count me as one of them.

Everyone can remember when mighty Team USA – stacked to the gills with NBA talent – were shocked in the 2004 Olympic basketball semi-finals by Argentina.

In hindsight, maybe it shouldn’t have been such a surprise. Argentina was truly a talented team, who touted NBA talent of their own in Luis Scola, Fabricio Oberto, Andres Nocioni, and of course Manu Ginobili (arguably the best player in the entire tournament).

The popular narrative wove at the time was that the United States was so dominant at basketball, that any twelve NBA players could be grouped together to win gold at the tournament. After their colossal failure, it was argued that Team USA didn’t have the shooting, nor the top-tier NBA talent necessary to win at the global level.

People always point to this experience as the turning point in which Team USA learned from this lesson, and came back better than ever in the 2008 Olympics, with the Redeem Team. But, they actually got their asses handed to them once more in the 2006 FIBA World Cup semi-finals, this time by Greece:

Continue reading “Why Team USA Will Lose the FIBA World Cup”