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Monday, March 25th, 2013 at 5:05 pm  |  40 responses

George Karl Thinks the NBA Should Eliminate Conferences for the Playoffs


Denver Nuggets head coach George Karl has never been a conventional thinker. So, it shouldn’t be a total surprise that he’s not a huge fan of the traditional NBA Playoff format. Instead of relying on geography, Karl suggests pairing teams up in the postseason based entirely on their regular season records. Per the Denver Post (via PBT): “So he was asked: Do you think you should wipe out divisions and just have conference standings? ‘I’m even crazier than that,’ the Nuggets’ coach said. Oh, yeah? What ya got? ‘I think you should put all top-16 and do it that way, and then reseed for the next round,’ he said. So basically, here’s Karl’s idea: The top eight teams from the Western Conference and the top eight teams from the Eastern Conference are put into a playoff pool. At this point, conference affiliation no longer matters. Instead, it’s all about record. The team with the best record plays the team with the 16th-best record and so on. And then, like he said, they reseed hockey-style for the next round. And so, the NBA’s ‘Final Four’ could be four teams from the same conference — but, as proven by this system, perhaps the four best teams in basketball. ‘I think it would get fans excited, man. It would be crazy,’ Karl said. ‘And we travel with private jets now, so I think you can schedule it to where you’d get two days of rest between games. I think it would be really fun and interesting to see the matchups.’”

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  • Tad

    Only problem with this is that the 10th seed in the west will probably have a better record than the 8th seed in the east and that wouldn’t be fair. Also western conference teams have tougher schedules than eastern conference teams. So to really make it fair everyone in the league would have to play everyone the same amount of times. Then I’d have no problem with it.

  • Ugh

    Kenny Smith suggested this on Open Court a while ago. Crickets chirped and C-Webb looked at him like he’d grown a second head. Certainly divisions are now pointless, and now there are 3 games a year between all teams rather than five intra-division games and two-interconference games, fans in one conference are no more familiar with a team from two hundred miles away than a team from the opposite end of the continent. And yes, the travel and schedule can be made more sensible.

    So it is a little redundant to have conferences for the old reasons. I don’t think I know any other reasons, besides tradition.

  • Ugh

    Why wouldn’t 10th-vs-8th be fair? Record is a record.
    And the teams do pretty much play each other an equal amount. There are 29 teams and 82 games to play.

  • Tad

    Karl said that it should be the top 8 teams from each conference make up one big top 16 bracket. So the 10th seed in the west will miss out even though he has a better record than the eighth seed in the east.

  • http://twitter.com/apowellAdvocate Allen Powell II

    He never made that argument when he coached the Bucks.

  • pposse

    if this is the case then each conference shouldn’t only play the other conference two times a year. This causes for inflated records in each conference when you get to play a bottom feeder 4 times a year instead of twice. Example 08 western conference. There were like 4 teams that had won less than 25 games, and the rest of the western conference enjoyed this cause they played and probably beat those bottom feeders all 4 times they played, inflating their respective records whereas the eastern conference only got to play those teams twice.

  • Slamson

    That’s already true with the current playoff format. As long as you select a certain number of teams from each conference, there’s always that risk.

  • Kadavour

    it should just be the top 16 teams period. start the bracket there and let the best teams. LA should have played the Spurs/Blazers/Kings for some of their Kobe/Shaq rings. Those Nets Pacers and Sixers teams wouldn’t have made it to the West Finals.

  • ab40

    he’s scared of the grizzlies huh haha. Stop it Geogre you’ve never won a ‘chip so try to focus on that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chris.callihan1 Chris Callihan

    many great coaches never won a chip

  • Ganchan

    Make the regular season more important. Reduce the number of games to 60, add a team in Seattle. Every team plays every other team exactly twice and the top 16 teams get into the playoffs

  • Tad

    Thats why it should just be a collective top 16.

  • roscoe

    And Roscoe thinks…

    d’nba should eliminate 6 teams for the following reasons:

    1. Less games = Less Injuries

    2. Smaller talent Pool = More Talent Evenly Distributed

    3. More Talent evenly distributed = More Competitive Games

    4. More Competitive Games = More Like the NFL

    5. More like the NFL = More money for the less Owners & better Players

    Which is ultimately better for the fans, like Roscoe.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Gilbert/100001749589586 Mike Gilbert

    this is a great idea, but it will never happen

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Gilbert/100001749589586 Mike Gilbert

    it’s not like the players from those six teams would all go to the worst teams. They would be evenly distributed. So instead of having Great teams and good teams you would have really great teams and really good teams. The NBA will always be dominated by the top 5 or so teams.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Gilbert/100001749589586 Mike Gilbert

    and the NFL is more competitive in the playoffs because they have one game elimination. If they had 7 game series then the league would be top heavy just like the NBA

  • JL

    They would also all be injured before the championship series. The physicality of that sport just doesn’t allow it. Conversely, imagine if the NBA only had 20 games to a season. Less revenue at current ticket prices (they would raise the ticket prices obviously in this scenario to make it feasible), but they also get more space to sell to other venues (for the stadiums).

  • JL

    Does it really matter if the best teams still end up getting to the championship usually because of the 7 game series setup? It’s really just trying to figure out how to get further (the Nuggets would play some relatively inferior teams to what they would face now in the playoffs since the west is stronger in the lower seeds).

  • AndyK415

    This would be pretty cool

  • http://twitter.com/NYCKING BIG ED

    I’m in favor of top 16 teams make it regardless of conference. 6 division champions get and 10 wild cards. round of 16 best of 3, quarterfinals best of 5, semifinals and finals best of 7.

  • http://www.facebook.com/starkpwnsyou Joshua Maria Peter Bautista

    I think this is an excellent idea. The top 16 teams from the entire league rather than the top 8 from each half of the country sounds better. Right now, the West has three to four legitimate title contenders while the East has one. So wouldn’t it be fitting if there’s three legit contenders from the West and the only contender from the East would make up the NBA’s Final Four? More ticket sales for the playoffs, more YouTube hits and probably more games since it will be ridiculously competitive.

  • roscoe

    “it’s not like the players from those six teams would all go to the worst teams”…

    roscoe does not hypothecate in the hypothetical.

    this is real stuff… refer to my indisputable list for clarification, specifically:

    # 2. Smaller talent Pool = More Talent Evenly Distributed

  • roscoe

    NFL = parity

    the question is…

    how can the NBA achieve parity?

    this is critical to pulling in larger audiences bc as you said…

    “The NBA will always be dominated by the top 5 or so teams.”

    why not change that?

  • roscoe

    20 games in the nba is far too less.

    but 20 less games in the nba per team is just about right.

    all of this is in roscoe’s humble opinion, of course.

  • The Philosopher

    I just hope that he doesn’t have an emotional breakdown if his team squanders a 3 game lead in the Playoffs…

  • Youngindy21

    Naw the West has no title contenders if the Miami Heat make it to the NBA Finals cus the Miami Heat already proved that the West is a joke with their high regular season records. The Miami Heat beat OKC in 5 games but went to 6 games against Indiana and 7 games against Boston. The East has multiple title contenders cus the only teams that can beat the Miami Heat are in the East. The last time a Western Conference playoff team beat the Miami Heat was in December which is like a little over 3 months ago.

  • ratguts

    oh christ, don’t start doing the third person thing. we already have the one, and that itself is too much.

  • Ugh

    Not “evenly distributed”, there’d be a contraction draft. The NBA has already talked about it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tim.walsh.5437923 Tim Walsh

    Only way for this to work is for all teams to play each other home and away the same no of times. No divisions or conferences and the top 16 at the end get seeded.

  • RedRum

    amen. This should have been done years ago, if Stern had not got stuck in the past were players would fly coach.. .

  • Max

    Stop talking in third person please.

  • RedRum

    It should be a similar system with European Football. Everyone plays everyone twice, 60 games. That’s it. No divisions or anything. The Divisions system was implement so that teams that were close could play. But as Karl says with private jets there is no need for this. Then pool the best 16 teams. Others commented that depending on strength of each division, wins could be inflated. True, but if you drop the division system and just have everyone play everyone twice this is sorted. The NBA would be much more interesting, I would like to see the top teams play each other, plus the regular season would be so much more important, no room for coasting.

  • http://www.facebook.com/starkpwnsyou Joshua Maria Peter Bautista

    The Celtics match up against the Heat well because they have Rondo who creates a lot of problems for the Heat defense, but he is unfortunately out for the season. Indy has Roy Hibbert, but he has to be engaged if they will ever have a chance to beat the Heat. Denver has every tool to beat the Heat, except maybe a real go-to-guy on offense, which is another Miami problem since they cannot assign LeBron on locking down one guy. San Antonio can beat them because of Tony Parker, who does the Heat like Rondo. OKC cant last season because James Harden didn’t show up in the Finals, and D-Wade had his way. I still don’t see OKC beating Miami but Denver and San Antonio are serious threats to the Heatles.

  • Max

    This would make Miami’s road to the finals a little bit more intresting.

  • shockexchange

    Sort of reminds the Shock Exchange of back in 1975 when the government thought “we should switch to the metric system.” Yeah … just him the “F.”

  • ofthetop

    I think they should add a few teams to the league! slowly though. maybe introducing a few new american teams next year. followed by another canadian and mexican team.. so theres eventually theres 35- 40 teams then everybody plays eachother twice in the regular season and only the top 10 records in the league make playoffs.. think about it

  • Darren

    Smith had the idea years ago too when he wrote the backpage for the Slam mag too.

  • http://twitter.com/stepfdelaghetto Stepfan Raiford

    As soon as David Stern retires, Adam Silver will make this playoff system happen.

  • roscoe

    3rd person?

  • Max

    All of this is in Roscoe’s humble opinion.
    You being Roscoe = third person.

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