16 May 2006

Cuban w(h)ine

This isn't about the NBA, though that's where it is originating. The outspoken Mark Cuban has whined his way to getting a change in the NBA playoffs (playoffs?!?). The reason for this change is due to the fact the 4th seed Mavericks are now playing the top seed Spurs. The Mavs had the second best record in the conference.

So Stern has changed the playoff rules for the following year and has come up with the most convoluted way to handle this. The top four teams are seeded by record, effectively saying that if you win a division, you may be seeded 4th, but no worse than fourth, and that record, regardless of seed, determines home advantage, so that 4th seeding doesn't matter if the 5th seed has a better record than you.


First, Cuban, whose tangents and antics are sometimes amusing, really needs to stop. If you're the best team, then they should be able to beat anyone. First round, semi-finals, finals. Doesn't matter. Beat the ones who step on the floor with you.

Second, the best playoff system in majors sports is the NHL. Best of 7 series and the playoff chart is re-done each round such that the highest seed always faces the lowest remaining seed. Division winners are top 3 regardless of record. No special exception for being good but not winning the division. Again, if you are what your record says you are, then you should win regardless. As much as I don't like the Steelers, they beat any comers in the playoffs, regardless of who or where.

Lastly, calling out your league in the middle of the playoffs is poor form, especially on such a trivial issue. Not that I would expect more of Cuban, but I have to give Stern credit when he said, "It's the kind of conversation I understand and it is an issue, but that's a conversation I would have privately with my owners." Stern isn't the greatest of commissioners but he's right on with that comment. Bring it to the owners' meeting, not on a friggin' blog. That's what us non-pro plebes are here to do.

All this said and aside, what do you all think of this new NBA format? Do you like the NFL format? How would you change it? Maybe we'll make a separate topic about the top 5 things you'd change about college football, so don't bring that one here. If you want that as a separate thing, create it.


At 3:35 PM, Blogger Dante said...

I've got no problem with the NFL playoffs as it is. You can't really do best of 7 in the NFL. My only real issue is that with 4 divisions in each conference, sooner or later a team with a losing record will win their division. If that were to happen, I wouldn't want them to be eligible for the playoffs.

And as far as the NBA format goes, one reason I don't like basketball postseasons is that they worry to the point of obsession over seeding. I'm not even fond of how baseball swaps seeds if it means a division winner will play a wilcard in their own division in the first round.

At 8:32 AM, Blogger Laddi said...

My only change to the NFL format is the one you point out, no sub-.500 teams in the playoffs. I also don't want to see it expanded. 12 is almost too many, but 8 is definitely too few if you have 8 divisions. 16 is too many. If there's one thing I don't like about the NHL and NBA is that half of the teams (or more) get into the postseason. Makes the playoffs seem less important of an achievement, and makes the regular season less interesting for me as a fan.

At 10:31 AM, Blogger S.A.W.B. said...

Playoffs?!? PLAYOFFS?!?

As far as the NFL goes, we're bound to see a 7-9 make the playoffs sooner or later, it will all just depend on the out of conference scheduling. Potentially, someone could win their division, and host a 1st round game with a 6-10 regular season record, or even 5-11, but I don't ever see that happening. The NFL has it pretty much right on, though. The only thing i'd adjust would be to make it so 3 and 4 seeds don't play divisional rivals in the 1st round, just to mix it up...

The NBA should just mimic the NHL seeding, and perhaps consider radical re-alignment, in an effort to balance things out a bit.

Baseball...Until baseball expands to 32 teams, or just integrates interleague play and dumps this unbalanced schedule nonsense (much as I like the Giants and Dodgers to play eleventy-billion times a season, I'd rather have the Giants and Braves play more often than once a leap year...), baseball is sitting pretty well. I do like that MLB won't put a League winner with the wild-card in the divisional round if they're from the same division. You played enough during the season, let's mix it up some.


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