NBA Leaning Toward Top-8 Playoff Format, Regardless of Division Winners

Adam Silver, NBA Playoffs

NBA Leaning Toward Top-8 Playoff Format, Regardless of Division Winners

Playoffs will be stronger if teams with best win-loss records are involved.

Published July 23, 2015

Last year's NBA playoffs had the Portland Trail Blazers (51-31) seeded fourth over No. 5 and No. 6 Memphis Grizzlies and San Antonio Spurs, despite each of the latter teams having a better than 55-win season.

That's because the NBA puts precedence on division winners, guaranteeing them a top-four spot in the playoffs.

Well, moving forward, that might change.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced Wednesday that the league is leaning toward not guaranteeing a post-season spot to its division winners and instead strictly seeding playoff teams based on the best win-loss records, as reported by ESPN.  

"First of all, it's never happened before that a division winner did not finish within the top eight, and our basketball analytics folks calculate that there's less than a 5 percent chance that it would happen," Silver said before taking part in a panel discussion, as reported by ESPN. 

"Where we are leaning right now is that we would not guarantee a spot for a division winner in part because it's so unlikely to happen, and No. 2 if it does happen it would be potentially confusing to fans," he added. "No. 3, you would be displacing a team that did have a top-eight record."


The Trail Blazers being seeded fourth over the Grizzlies and Spurs sort of threw the Western Conference playoffs out of whack, with the Spurs meeting the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round and Portland facing the Grizzlies.

Had it been by win-loss records, the Grizzlies and Spurs would have been seeded fourth and fifth and met in the first-round with the Trail Blazers having to open up their first-round series on the road against the Clippers. 

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(Photo: Monica Schipper/Getty Images for Beyond Sport)

Written by Mark Lelinwalla


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