The NBA playoffs are designed to give eight teams from each conference a chance to win the NBA title. The expanded version of the postseason now features a play-in tournament where the 7th to 10th ranked teams in each of the conferences will battle each other to earn the 7th and 8th seed in the playoffs. However, numbers show that there's bad news for lower seed teams.
Only the Top 3 seeds make it
According to NBA Hoops Online, 88 percent of NBA champions have been Top 2 seeds while 97 percent are Top 3 seeds. These numbers are certainly not good news for all the lower seed teams.
The last eight-seed team to make the NBA finals was the New York Knicks which lost against the San Antonio Spurs in 1999. No seventh-seed team made the finals or won a title so far.
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Regular season games are important because they determine placing in both conferences' standings and reward the top seed with home-court advantage. The Finals must have the best teams competing for the title, and no one wants to watch a mismatch or a sweep.
Who would likely win the title?
Based on this trend, the most likely to win the title are The Phoenix Suns, Memphis Grizzlies, Golden State Warriors, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, and Boston Celtics if the playoffs start today. This could change if the Philadelphia 76ers or the Dallas Mavericks make their late push for the 3rd seed.
But in this regard, how could the NBA make it more balance for all of the playoff-bound teams? Clearly, changes have to be made. The play-in tournament is a start, but how do we ensure better chances for the lower seed teams?
Lower seed teams are also in limbo. They are good enough for the postseason but not good enough to win it all. The numbers also back it up. This also means no lottery picks for a chance to get a rookie who could make an immediate impact.
There's also a possibility of an upset or a cinderella run happening, which makes every postseason exciting and worth watching. The NBA must figure out soon how to change the trend or risk making it look like all the other teams are just playing in the postseason to play additional games for financial gains only.