After last week’s announcement that the NBA’s switching things up for this year’s All-Star Game, Adam Silver, while holding a press conference in China, was asked about a possible reformatting to the playoffs. In an article posted to ESPN, he said:
“Reformatting the playoffs is something we’ll continue to look at,” Silver said before this weekend’s preseason game between the Warriors and the Timberwolves. “I think though it would require revisiting the regular-season schedule as well. As I’ve said before, we don’t play a balanced schedule now, as I’m sure you know. And for those that don’t, that means that teams in the East play each other more than they play teams in the West. And our feeling is, if we were going to seed 1-16, we would need to play a balanced schedule to make it fair for everyone if we were going to seed 1-16 in the playoffs. It may be that as we continue to experiment with the number of days over which we can schedule 82 games that it will create more of an opportunity for a balanced schedule.”
“Counter-balancing seeding playoff teams 1-16 is also the desire to create more rest for our players and when possible reduce the amount of travel,” he continued. “If we took the existing format, the existing schedule and then we seeded playoffs 1-16, we’d be adding additional travel; you would have teams criss-crossing the country in the first round.”
The NBA has had a 1-16 playoff format since 1984. The League’s changed its Finals scheduling to a 2-2-1-1-1 format in 2014.