Are the NBA Playoffs Drawn Out?

West Long Branch, N.J. (The Verge) – This weekend was the end of the NBA regular season and the beginning of the playoffs. Many of the players cleared out their lockers and said their goodbyes, as they were not part of the elite class of NBA teams to move on to the playoffs in 2012. Using the word “elite” is referenced loosely because in the NBA, 16 of the 30 teams in the league move on to the playoffs. Saying that a team is elite for having made the playoffs would be a stretch.
In the 2010-2011 season the Indiana Pacers placed eighth and were the last to make the playoffs from the Eastern Conference. That year the Pacers had finished the season with a 37-45 record. Without having a winning record, 45% was good enough for the team to make it to the playoffs, and possibly contend for the championship. This is explains the downside of the NBA expanding the playoffs to include more teams.

This is the setup for this year's quest to the NBA championship. Image taken from: nappyafro.com

By having 16 teams from 2 divisions take part in the playoffs, it drags out the postseason longer than needed. Usually in the first round of the playoffs the lower seeded team does not stand a chance because the favored team is that much better than them. The NBA would be better suited to reduce the number of teams to cut out one of the rounds by only taking six or four teams from each conference to compete in the playoffs. This would serve to bring more excitement to the first round games, as they would be between two teams of equal skill.
The biggest underdog NBA team to win the championship since the expansion to a 16-team playoff layout was the 1995 Huston Rockets. That year the Rockets were seeded 6th out of 8 teams in the Western Conference and made there way to the finals where they managed to beat the Orlando Magic.
The NBA should also think about how many extra games that these players are being asked to play during the post season. There are four rounds of games, each being best of seven series. In the course of one playoff run, a team that plays seven games in each of the series would be playing 28 extra games after a 82 games regular season. That is approximately 35% of the total games one team would play in a season. Many would say that 28 is far too many games for a team to play and that there should be a change to how many rounds and teams should be included in the playoffs.
The MLB only has 10 teams and the NFL only has 12 teams that move on to the playoffs, so why does the NBA think that 16 teams from a 30-team league would be a smart idea. This might be a way to give lesser teams a shot a taking down a perennial top team. But many agree that these NB playoffs are too drawn out. They should cut the list of teams down to 12 or 10, which would reduce number of games played post season for players.
Logo for the NBA's playoffs. Image taken from: chitowncheapskate.com

One Reply to “Are the NBA Playoffs Drawn Out?

  1. I agree in philosophy. But the reality is that the NBA must do something to get fans of losing teams to keep buying tickets and watching local cable for the last two months of the season. The NBA does very well but does not have the drawing power of the NFL or MLB. The basketball league’s national TV contract is not as lucrative and it depends more heavily on ticket sales and local cable revenues.
    If anything, the league needs to go the other way. Feel free to read, “Fixing the NBA Playoffs”. You’ll find it at http://www.thesportsfanjournal.com.
    I would be interested in your feedback.

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