Making Sense of the Proposed NBA Changes

Big changes are on the horizon for the NBA. Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe of ESPN have reported that the NBA, NBPA and their broadcast partners are working on possible schedule and formatting changes as soon as the 2021-22 season. 

    The league is discussing potentially reducing the number of regular season games from 82 to 78, the addition of an in-season tournament and play-in games for teams competing for wild card spots. Lastly, the Association is proposing to seed the Conference Final teams by regular season record as opposed to having distinctions between the Western and Eastern Conference. If this was in place last season the Warriors could have met the Raptors in the Conference Finals. 

    Of the new ideas presented, I would love to see the new Conference Finals format implemented. Turning the Conference Finals into the NBA’s version of the NCAA’s Final Four would be great for the league. With so many All-Star level players changing locations this past summer, the upcoming postseason should be competitive all the way to June. This new alignment would ensure a competitive Finals series even if a new superteam forms or a top player gets injured. 

    With so many players currently hurt, I do support load management. From a league perspective, I also see how it could be frustrating. Instead of reducing the season to 78 games I think a fine should be in place for missing nationally televised games. This would encourage players to rest around their primetime games while still allowing load management to continue which would benefit the teams and their strategy to last injury-free and satisfy the league’s broadcast partners. 

    I’m not big on an in-season tournament, however a postseason tournament that decides the draft order would be great. The bottom 14 could compete in a single elimination tournament that would determine the lottery order in the draft. Even with the changes made, the current lottery system still lends itself towards tanking, whereas the postseason tournament would reward teams still trying. 

    It will take time to see if any of these new changes come to fruition, but don’t be surprised to see a completely revamped NBA in the next few years.

What You Expect?