Today I’m like everyone else – I’m looking forward to the the playoffs, but not like everyone else is. You’ll see at the end. . .
#30 Atlanta Hawks (4-16, -10.9, LW: 30)
Just four seasons ago the Hawks had the best record in the Eastern Conference. I know that things change fast, but it’s not as if Adam Banks left the Hawks. In any event, they still look several years away, and when you have a 30-year old Jeremy Lin on your roster after his 15 minutes were up and a 42-year old Vince Carter (how is he still in the league? Remember when everyone questioned his heart?) you are not exactly speeding up the process.
#29 Chicago Bulls (5-16, -9.1, LW: 29)
#28 Phoenix Suns (4-15, -9.9, LW: 27)
#27 Utah Jazz (9-12, -3.4, LW: 24)
If you look throughout the history of the NBA the Jazz are struggling because of one big trend. Jason Kidd is probably the only point guard who helped an NBA team to a championship who couldn’t shoot. Ricky Rubio right now shooting an atrocious 36.6% from the floor and is not connecting on even 40% of his two point attempts. A team that has been up and down this early part of the season could do itself some good to find a PG who can actually make shots if they want get into the playoffs.
#26 Cleveland Cavaliers (4-15, -6.4, LW: 26)
#25 New York Knicks (7-14, -4.9, LW: 28)
#24 Miami Heat (7-12, -1.9, LW: 25)
#23 Brooklyn Nets (8-13, -1.4, LW: 19)
#22 Sacramento Kings (10-10, -2.6, LW: 20)
Don’t look now, but the Kings are over .500 and currently sit in the eighth spot in the West!! The teams are much more bunched in the West, but for a team that hasn’t been in the postseason in 13 seasons, being there a quarter into the season is reason enough to be excited (look, I’m just guessing here, but judging by Cleveland Browns fans this theory must be true). Like many teams they will need to improve on the defensive end, but they are middle of the pack in both offensive and defensive rating, so improving the offense would help every bit as much (duh!).
#21 Washington Wizards (8-12, -4.6, LW: 21)
#20 Portland Trail Blazers (12-8, +2, LW: 4)
#19 Orlando Magic (10-11, -3, LW: 14)
#18 San Antonio Spurs (10-10, -0.5, LW: 22)
#17 Houston Rockets (9-10, -1.1, LW: 8)
#16 New Orleans Pelicans (10-11, +0.6, LW: 9)
#15 Minnesota Timberwolves (10-11, -2.2, LW: 23)
#14 Boston Celtics (11-10, +2.8, LW: 18)
#13 Charlotte Hornets (10-10, +4.5, LW: 15)
#12 Philadelphia 76ers (14-8, 0, LW: 10)
Currently sitting at 14-8, but have the scoring differential of a .500 team. Injuries to some key guys are starting to pile up, so don’t be surprised to see Philly attempt another deal so they don’t fall behind further in the East.
#11 Detroit Pistons (10-7, +0.8, LW: 17)
#10 Golden State Warriors (15-7, +5.3, LW: 16)
#9 Memphis Grizzlies (12-7, +2.1, LW: 7)
#8 Dallas Mavericks (9-9, +1.6, LW: 13)
#7 Los Angeles Lakers (11-8, +1.5, LW: 12)
#6 Indiana Pacers (12-8, +4.3, LW: 6)
#5 Los Angeles Clippers (13-6, +4.4, LW: 5)
#4 Denver Nuggets (13-7, +6.8, LW: 11)
#3 Oklahoma City Thunder (12-7, +5.4, LW: 3)
#2 Milwaukee Bucks (14-6, +11.1, LW: 1)
#1 Toronto Raptors (17-4, +9, LW: 2)
Today I want to propose a new format – really an old format – for the NBA. The division alignment doesn’t matter anymore. They don’t even use them for conference seedings anymore. They only play a part in scheduling, but if you’re going to do that, get rid of the current division format. Instead I propose this:
The league is most likely going to expand to 32 teams. Get over it, old timers. The league has more good players coming from all over the world, it has been 15 years since they last expanded it will likely be the last for a while. The number makes sense. So going with that philosophy I say we break down the teams into four divisions of eight, no conferences. You play each team in your division four times and each of the other 24 teams twice, making a 76-game schedule. To make up for the six games we’ll do this in the playoffs.
For the playoffs the division winners receive the top four seeds. The next two in each division receive playoff spots and will be seeded accordingly, so we have twelve of the customary 16 spots covered. After that, the next eight teams are entered into a blind draw. The four matchups will be a best-of-three series and the winners make up the last four spots in the playoffs based on record. Then the teams are reseeded after each round. Draft positions are a full blown lottery, including all teams, 32 teams, 32 lottery balls, the order they come out is the order they draft.Why do it this way? Four things:
- They will not reduce the number of playoff teams, so don’t bother offering that option. Instead how about making up for the loss of games with some added playoff games/play in games
- The conferences are now meaningless. Let’s make these divisions mean something by taking teams from each.
- The Lottery idea helps prevents the perception of tanking. I don’t believe that teams really tank, but I also believe that the perception is there. This eliminates that.perception. You go 0-76? You could just as likely draft 30th as draft first. There is no incentive to miss the playoffs, either.
I’ll let you all mull that over . . .