Recently the NBA has started looking into improving the Playoffs. If you follow the NBA, you know what's being discussed. If you don't, here's your recap. The NBA is considering creating a 'Playoff Tournament' (Think First Four in March Madness) where the 7, 8, 9 and 10 seeds play each other in single elimination games for the last two spots in the Playoffs.
Not a terrible idea, as increasing the number of spots should, in theory, create more teams trying to win each year because of the increased chances of a playoff spot. Never mind the fact that this means 20 of your 30 teams have shot at a title, which is really high and rewards a lot of teams for mediocrity, but I digress.
I like the idea of these play in games. It's done wonders for baseball, as the Wild Card games have been rowdy, raucous affairs. But the NBA is losing the forest through the trees. The real issue with the NBA Playoffs is that they are way, way too long.
Every playoff series in the NBA is best of 7. So is hockey. You know what they have in common? They take to long! MLB is best of 5, then best of 7 the rest of the way. Still takes a long time, but it's crisper, and shorter.
With 8 teams in the playoffs regardless, the NBA should switch things up a bit to create more excitement. Have your 'First Four,' but then make the first round Best of 3. Force the top teams to really show up in Round 1, and create room for crazy, excitement producing upsets. Round 2 is best of 5, and the Conference Finals and the Finals themselves are your Best of 7. That shaves off 6 potential games, almost an entire playoff series, while allowing more room for upsets and smaller market teams to make deep runs.
Part of what makes March Madness so exciting is the upsets. Due to the length of the playoff series, that doesn't happen often in the NBA. Shortening the series at the beginning won't give the top teams room to coast, and gives the lower seeded teams a real chance.
And now, for fun, here's what your current 'First Four' match-ups would look like if they happened this season.
What do you think? Would this work? Something you'd do differently? How else could the NBA generate excitement for the playoffs and more of it's teams? Let me know in the comments!