Adam Silver recently made it known that the NBA is considering redoing its playoff format, going 1-16 instead of having two 1-8 conferences. Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James is less than enamored with the idea.
Speaking on the matter, James made it known that he prefers the current two-conference, 1-8 format with the best team from each conference meeting in the finals.
“I would disagree with that. I think our league has been built the right way when it comes to the postseason. There’s been dominant conferences throughout time. Obviously in the 80s you had the Lakers who dominated the league and you had Boston who dominated. In the 90s you had Chicago. San Antonio has had its run. We had our run in the East with Miami. Golden State is having its run,” James said, per Spencer Davies of BBall Insiders. “It’s cool to mess around with the All-Star Game. We proved that you could do that. But let’s not get too crazy with the playoffs.”
While LeBron makes some interesting points, we can’t help but wonder how he’d feel if he played his entire career in the Western Conference.
Since Michael Jordan retired from the Chicago Bulls following the 1998 season, the Western Conference is 13-6 in the NBA Finals. In several the West’s 13 wins, a credible case could have been made that the best teams played before the NBA Finals, or even the Conference Finals, in some cases.
LeBron is right. The Eastern Conference has had great teams. When an Eastern Conference team wins, the conference gap doesn’t feel so vast. But it doesn’t change the fact that for But truthfully, the conference gap goes beyond just who wins the championship. It also has a lot to do with who competes for a championship, and when the best matchups are taking place.
If the NBA’s goal is to uphold the American sport’s tradition of having the best teams from two conferences meet in the finals, then LeBron is right. But if the goal is to have the two best teams meet in the championship series, a change should be considered.