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“Plan Matt” Will Save The NBA

Posted by Matt on May 14, 2007

I have been really trying to follow the NBA as diligently as possible (considering I do not have cable at the moment and there have been a plethora of “late games” this is not necessarily an easy task) and I got to thinking about one thing:

These NBA Playoffs have been more exciting than any I can ever remember.

There are multiple reasons for this, first it is the most I have ever followed the NBA Playoffs, so that may be a part of it. There was also that “Biggest Upset In NBA Playoff History” thing where some team from California beat some team from Texas; it is possible that is the reason as well. However, what I feel to be the main reason for the Playoff excitement is that the games MATTER in the Playoffs and the players actually CARE. These conditions make the majority of the games genuinely exciting and fun to watch, features most Regular Season games truly lack.

In my humble opinion there are three main reasons for the regular season deficiency:

  1. The season is too long
  2. Too many teams make the playoffs and the playoffs are too long
  3. The draft-lottery system is flawed

Thus I introduce to you:

“PLAN MATT”

 

In “Plan Matt,” the first order of business will be to shorten the season. The 2006-2007 Regular Season tipped off on October 31, 2007 and ended on April 21, 2007. That is almost 6 full months of Regular Season Play, which is far too long, making a lot of the 82-games meaningless, resulting in lackadaisical play and lackluster games.

First, we fix the season:

  • First, do away with divisions as they seem completely pointless to me since there is no significance to winning your division, the Top 8 teams in each Conference per their records make the playoffs
  • With just two 16-team Conferences, shorten the season to 61-games
    • Each team plays each of the other 15-teams in their Conference 3-times (45 games)
    • Each team plays each of the 16-teams in the opposing Conference 1-time (16 games)
    • Total: 61 games
  • This will shorten the Regular Season by 21-games and approximately 7 weeks of time, depending on how the computer generates the schedule
  • Every team has virtually the same schedule, resulting in more pure standings

Secondly, there are too many teams making the playoffs. Teams should not be rewarded for a record at, or below, .500 (see Orlando Magic, Washington Wizards, and New Jersey Nets of this season). Now I realize that this sometimes happens in the NFL, especially in the NFC, but they play so many fewer games that this is allowed. Plus, we all will concede that the NFL is by no means a flawed system; it is a cash cow. Furthermore, the NBA Playoffs are too long and must be shortened just a hair. To fix the playoff issue, here is what I do:

  • Reduce teams eligible for the Playoffs from 8 to 6, hopefully to avoid sub-par teams making the Playoffs
  • The Top 2 teams in each Conference receive first round byes, a la the NFL Playoff
  • Reduce the First Round back to a best of 5-game series so that teams that go on to face the #1 and #2 seeds are not completely destroyed, physically, by the 2nd Round and the Playoffs can be slightly shorter

Lastly, there is the issue of the flawed draft-lottery system and incidentally, this is the hardest problem to fix. The reasoning behind this system was to keep teams from “tanking” (losing on purpose for draft position) by not guaranteeing the top draft position to the worst team. The lottery still favors the lowest few teams so much, though, that the losing teams are not necessarily playing for last but still playing for close-to-last. There are two ways to address this situation:

  1. All teams that do not make the playoffs have an EQUAL shot at the #1 draft pick through a pure lottery
  2. Do away with the lottery completely (i.e. the NFL)

There are pros and cons to both so I will analyze each. In the first option (pure lottery), each team that did not make the playoffs would have an equal shot at the #1 draft pick, meaning there would be no reason to “tank” at the end of the season. The real issue with this is that there would be 20-teams in this lottery, so the worst team would only have a 1-in-20 shot at the top selection. With this system, there would be the issue of the “rich get richer,” and there would be franchises that would just become perpetually bad.

The second option, and my personal choice for “Plan Matt,” is doing away with the lottery system completely and simply making the draft order the reverse of the final seasonal standing, post-playoffs. This system does allow for “tanking” for draft position late in the season, however, there are two reasons I am hoping the normal draft system will work:

  1. With 21 fewer games in the Regular Season, teams will be in contention longer thus leaving less time and opportunity for “tanking” at the end
  2. Hopefully pride and the urge to want to go out each and every night and win would prevent any severe “tanking,” leaving just the few bottom-feeding teams to duke it out for that top draft selection

 

Thus, we have “Plan Matt” and I believe that this combination of changes would revolutionize the NBA and bring in a much larger fan base. The games would be more exciting, the play would be at a higher level, and the players would actually care, or at least I hope that they would. While you ponder “Plan Matt” I will diligently sit by the phone, awaiting that inevitable call from NBA Commissioner David Stern insisting on adopting my plan…

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2 Responses to ““Plan Matt” Will Save The NBA”

  1. 2shakes said

    I must admit I rather like Plan Mowery…..it makes the season shorter (thus possibly making each team try harder to get into the playoffs) shorter play-offs so we don’t have to sit and wait for an obviously superior team to beat down much lower opponents just to see who the best is…..the draft, well I must say this is the most brilliant idea I’ve heard in a long time, do away with the lottery and allow for the lowest (and obviously worst) team to find the missing piece(s) to their team. In conclusion I whole-heartedly agree with Plan Mowery……

  2. Matt said

    Thanks alot, I appreciate it. I actually put some thought in to this, it wasn’t a merely “the NBA needs fixed” post with no legitimacy. The plan greatly simplifies the NBA and makes the season more exciting, both features help appeal to a broader audience.

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