Friday, May 23, 2008

Realignment of the Stars

I came across this post by Warriors' play-by-play man Bob Fitzgerald (via TrueHoop) about a realignment of the NBA, which of course is something I have been advocating for a few seasons now. Fitzgerald's reasoning is that it will cut down on travel and promote geographic rivalries. His recommendation is to keep the 6 divisions and make 3 conferences, instead of the current 2. That would give the NBA an Eastern, Central and Western Conference. Each team would play their own conference opponents 4 times and the teams in other conferences 2 times in the regular season. That results in a 76-game season (36 Conference games, 40 Non-Conference games). Here is his proposed plan:


I like the concept, but I hate to see teams in the Central and Atlantic split up, considering that there is so much history between those teams. Bulls-Knicks, Celtics-Pistons, and so much more in terms of longstanding rivalries that would be greatly reduced with this new setup. That's why I propose the following change to the setup:

With this setup, travel can be reduced just as much, while maintaining the traditional Eastern Conference rivalries and helping to bring about a few new ones among the teams in the new South Conference.

The other change that Fitzgerald recommends is to seed the playoffs #1-16 based solely upon regular season record, which I heartily endorse as well. There is no reason that a 50-win team in the West should miss the playoffs so that a below-.500 team in the East gets in. Let's do away with "locked-in seeds" for division winners and truly reward the best teams in the league in the postseason.

Of course, none of this will ever happen, because David Stern cannot allow writers, fans, pundits to think that they have any control overy anything, but it certainly makes sense. Doesn't it?

BallHype: hype it up!


Akram said...

How about we make this scenario:

Lets say its already Oklahoma City Barons or Outlaws. Seattle gets an expansion team for a total of 32 teams. And lets say there is a north, south, east, and western conference. How would that be split up. This requires much more work, I know, but I truly believe this is when it will be necessary to realign and make new conferences. I think its an inevitability that Seattle will get a team. I cant imagine there not being a Seattle Supersonic team for more than 2 years.

GrizzledGrizzFan said...

Since we're talking about something that's never going to happen, here's my 2 cents.

1) Expansion teams to Oklahoma City and Kansas City
2) Get Seattle's arena situation straightened out
3) New playoffs are the 16 best
4) Move to four divisions of eight teams (I tried eight four team divisions ala the NFL, but no matter what I did one or more teams were royally screwed.

So here's my proposed realignment:

LA Lakers
LA Clippers
Golden State

San Antonio
Kansas City
Oklahoma City

New York
New Jersey

New Orleans

Chip Crain said...

Grizzled - You and I are on the same track. In fact I talked to Joshua about this very scenario earlier today.

I do see 8 divisions in two conferences. All 8 division winners qualify for the playoffs and 4 conference wild cards each. Kansas City and Seattle being the expansion team since Ok City seems destined to get the Sonics.

Miami, Orlando, Charlotte, Washington

Memphis, Atlanta, New Orleans, Kansas City

Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Oklahoma City

LA Lakers, Clippers, Phoenix, Sacramento (Las Vegas eventually)

Golden St. Seattle, Portland, Utah

Minnesota, Milwaukee, Indiana, Denver

Great Lakes:
Chicago, Detroit, Toronto, Cleveland

New York, New Jersey, Boston, Philadelphia

Anonymous said...

Not bad, Chip . . .

I'd add that a new playoff format would take the eight division champs, followed by the next eight best records, to complete the 16 team bracket. Division champs would match up with "wild cards" from the lower eight in the first round.


Akram said...

Yup, what chip wrote is what i was thinking. 8 divisions with 4 teams each. call them what you want, as long as we arent with the texas teams anymore, then its great. Unfortunately, it makes too much sense to happen. said...

Grizzled and Chip, I like both of your ideas. It will be interesting to see if and when Kansas City and Seattle get NBA franchises.