Yesterday, the NBA league office issued a press release sharing the new changes to the postseason seeding and qualification. For the past few seasons, many have wondered if the league would make changes as the competition in the Western Conference would push teams with 45 plus wins out of the playoffs because they didn’t win their division. Meanwhile, there were teams in the Eastern Conference with 37 wins that were a part of the postseason play. So now if a team in a “down” division wins said division, if their record isn’t up to snuff, they could find themselves on the outside looking in come playoff time.
“As part of the modifications, the eight playoff teams in each conference will be seeded in order of their regular-season record. Most recently, every division winner was guaranteed a top four seed in its respective conference regardless of its record but did not receive home-court advantage if its playoff opponent had a better record.” – NBA Press Release
Which now means some teams (cough, San Antonio, cough) will have tougher choices to make about resting players as those eight spots aren’t as easy to hold on to anymore. While it’s easy to think about the West and only the West as you digest these rule changes. Remember, this can and will affect the East as well. If teams wish to rest players, it behooves them to start the season strong so they can be afforded that luxury, teams must now keep an eye on the Conference standings versus just the Division.
“Head-to-head results have become the first criterion to break ties for playoff seeding and home-court advantage between two teams with identical regular-season records; the second criterion is whether a team won its division.” -NBA Press Release
The people asked for it and the league made it happen, it now adds an interesting dynamic to the upcoming season. It challenges every team in the league to be at their best night in and night out, it also gives teams that start the year slow a legit reason to avoid tanking. If you’re behind in your division, but your record is equal or better than the team atop another division, you are in the game in that regard. While you may be looking up to the team atop your division, another division over you may have the best record.
It’s almost as if the league figured it could tackle the “resting” of players while also combating the tanking issue. Only time will tell, but what do you think of the seeding changes?? Share your thoughts with us below in the comments section!!