Wednesday, April 19, 2006

NBA Playoff Seeding

Sorry I haven't been around lately -- end of the semester push. But I couldn't go another day without mentioning the playoff seeding fiasco. That's right, fiasco.

The NBA decided that it would be a great idea to give the top three seeds in each conference to the division winners. Nevermind that the divisions mean squat -- I'm an NBA fan and I can't even name them, though I'm vaguely aware that they are geographic. This means of course that a team with about 44 wins like the Nuggets will be seeded higher than the Mavs who have about 60 wins.

Ok, we can all see that maybe it's not that big of a deal. But wait. Did the NBA not realize that this might lead the lower seeded teams to avoid the 5 seed? Whereas in the past teams were rewarded for having more wins, this seeding system serves as a penalty to teams with more wins. Obviously teams would prefer to play the Nuggets and finish 6th than to finish 5th and play the Mavs.

So then we get a situation in which the Grizzlies and the Clippers are putting their worst guys on the floor and trying to lose without looking like they are trying to lose when everyone knows that they are trying to lose and they would be idiots for trying to win. Yeeks.

And to anyone who says that it isn't sportsmanlike to throw a game for a better playoff matchup is turning a blind eye to the big picture. Those teams should be trying to lose because the NBA has removed their incentive to win. If the league punishes a team for winning, then they can't turn around and call that team unsportsmanlike when they don't try to win. I'm usually a David Stern fan, but he should have seen this one coming.