Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Time for NBA to Change Its Playoff Format

The NBA playoffs are a couple of weeks away from starting, yet more than a month away from knowing who wins in the first round.

Playoff games every night of the week for weeks can be cool and for many years it worked out well. But, times have changed and a quicker format seems appropriate now.

The internet generation has given sports junkies more perspective.  Getting to the point is more important than seeing more games played just for the heck of it.

The buildup to the conference finals and championship can be improved upon and made to be more responsive to fans expectations.

The issue for the NBA playoffs that sets it apart from baseball and football is that there are four rounds to play.

A best-of-seven in the first round is not necessary, but rather than have it as a best-of-five, just shorten to a best-of-three and get it over with.  The best team should always win, regardless of the length of the series, but this length of a series will apply a lot of pressure to the favorite teams and give underdog teams more possibility.

If a favorite team can't win a best-of-three first rounder, then, they don't deserve to win the championship, anyways.

A two out of three first round pushes the playoffs along at the right pace, getting to a second round quickly and giving sports fans more immediate gratification.

The second round has to be a best-of-five if the first round is best-of-three.  The same philosophy applies.  Push the playoffs along to get to the best-of-sevens sooner.  Along the way, there may be more upsets, but also, there may be better quality games.

The best-of-seven for a first and second round has outlived its purpose.  It tends to make the NBA playoffs drag on too long.  There's nothing wrong with building up more tension with early rounds that are decided more quickly.

The playoff format change would bring more attention to the NBA and the marketing can take advantage of more deciding game threes and fives in which the loser goes home.

Best-of-sevens should be made to be more special.  They should be reserved for the Conference championships and Finals only.

Originally published April 12th, 2012

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