Limpag: Group phase in the NBA?
ONE of the most interesting things being tossed about in the planned resumption of the NBA is having a group phase format in the playoffs. A group phase, of course, is something familiar to football fans, however not so to basketball fans.
The group stage is much shorter, compared to the usual direct matchups that the NBA utilizes in its playoffs and has more drama and upsets.
If the NBA desires 20 teams in the playoffs, it can have 5 groups of four teams each, and with that setup, there’s a big opportunity that 2 of the top 8 groups– Milwaukee, Toronto, Boston and Miami in the East and the Lakers, Clippers, Denver and Utah in the West– might belong in the same group, forming the much hated or precious group of death.
And instead of a seven-game series, you can have the four-team groups play a double round robin, with the top two advancing to the next stage, that would make every video game a prospective decider. Naturally, that likewise leaves a lot of room for upsets as just a number of good games might see the most affordable ranked in the group fall the front runner.
Aside from that drama, there’s likewise the other drama where two groups could potentially conspire to identify which groups advance, something football has actually avoided by holding the last two matches of the group stage simultaneously.
Will the NBA bite this? I hope so, as I believe a modification in format is what’s required in their planned resumption. And obviously, with commissioner Adam Silver having mulled a European-football type competition a year back to shorten the league, maybe this could be a step in that direction?
If the group phase is a hit– which I presume it will be, conserve for the leading seeds who get the upset axe– then possibly the NBA can also consider adopting the other practices in football which could assist put some parity in the league.
The leading flights in European football have 18 to 20 teams each, with the bottom 2 getting relegated to the lower division, which typically have 20 groups. At 32 groups, I believe the NBA can manage to have two divisions with a relegation/promotion at the end of the season. I mean, who loves to enjoy 60-win groups taking a trip when they deal with 10-win teams late in the sesaon.
And with promotion/relegation on the line, the last video games in the regular season will be as interesting as the playoffs.