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:

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Late Whistle

It will be 10 years since disgraced official Tim Donaghy released his tell-all book. Yet another butchering of last season’s NBA playoffs led me to finally give the book a read. Now, I’m wondering what took me so long.

Following the ridiculousness that was the 2018 NBA Playoffs, which prompted a league reaction for #RefWatchParty, I was prompted to write about the results of said reaction; However, I was also prompted to order a book that had been gently gnawing away at my subconscious for close to a decade now: “Personal Foul” by Tim Donaghy.

And I encourage you to do the same, especially if you have any sort of doubts regarding the officiating in the NBA. You really won’t know what to think about the book until you read it for yourself.

Why? Because every opinion I have ever heard about the book is incredibly biased, as anyone who has any kind of negative spin on it has apparently never read the damned thing.

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Professional Basketball is Dead

Who killed it? And who – or what – is slowly rising from out of its grave?

“My name is Dan. I love basketball, probably at an unhealthy level”

This is the introduction to my About Cleaning Up The Glass page. And, although I can convince myself that this statement holds true for the sport in general, I no longer can say with a straight face that this accurately represents my love for the way it’s played at the professional level. Which is where my love for the game had originally blossomed, and, therefore, where the majority of my knowledge lies.

What happened?

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3nough!

The three-pointer is shot more often and accurately than ever, but ratings are still down for the NBA. Coincidence? I think not.

I recently sat down to watch the Lakers-Heat game. The NBA was billing it as the final showdown between LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. I wish it was more of a rivalry matchup than the bro-mance that it was (Even their post-game hug-and-talk afterwards seemed so scripted and phony that I almost threw up), but, so are the ways of today’s NBA.

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Did #RefWatchParty Actually Work?

We all had our expectations of how this experiment was going to shake out, but did anyone correctly predict the result?

We all thought it was a joke. Even I had my reservations about it when I heard the news.

But the NBA did the unthinkable. Following heavy criticism after the first two games of this year’s Finals, the league responded by having @OfficialNBARefs, the Twitter handle representing professional basketball’s referees, live tweeting during Game 3 last night. With the internet, who is always both crazy and angry about everything.

It sounded like a terrible idea from the word “go”. The first two games were so bad that, forget the internet, hoop heads everywhere would have ripped the refs a new one in-person. Upon hearing of the news, my mind jumped to some of the terrible calls from the previous games, and how the referees’ Twitter would handle rabid, spiteful fans demanding explanations for some of the worst officiating we have ever seen (or at least in recent memory). How could the referees Twitter attempting to explain away a call that pissed off the entire internet help anything?

Continue reading “Did #RefWatchParty Actually Work?”