Wouldn’t it make perfect sense that the first NBA title awarded to the Denver Nuggets would be on the most asterisk type of years in the history of asterisk’s? They’ve been close (twice) but for the most part, Nuggets fans have had to come to grips with the fact that Denver might just be a good team from time to time and never a GREAT one. So wouldn’t that just take the cake if they won their first title in a year that will most certainly be discounted because of the Corona Virus pandemic? Sure, it would be neat to see the Joker hold up the Larry O’Brien trophy (hopefully without dropping it) but would it really feel like a true championship? Of course not. And that’s the case with every NBA team. If LeBron James and his Lakers are crowned champs you know it won’t change anything when it comes to the “Jordan vs. James” argument. So why not try something new? This title won’t mean anything so why not take a meaningless tournament/season and flip everything upside down?
You’ve no doubt heard them all by now; from reseeding 1 through 16, play in games and a March Madness style post season but will the NBA actually step away from their proven best of 7, Eastern/Western playoffs format? I will say I have never been crazy about the idea of taking all 16 playoff teams and mixing them together so western teams will play eastern teams throughout. Call me old fashioned but I still very much like the idea of trying to win your own conference first and pit the best in the East against the best in the West. Plus, I don’t think that’s crazy enough. Is seeing the Nuggets vs. the Pacers really going shake the very foundation of pro basketball? Doubtful.
One idea gaining some traction is taking the 5 or 6 teams on the outside looking in and creating some type of play in formula, I guess similar to the MLB’s wildcard. So we would reward 6 teams that are at least 5 games under .500? No thanks. It’s unfortunate for teams like Portland and the Zion’s (I mean Pelicans) but like all of us, nothing about 2020 has gone as expected or is considered fair. So let’s just take the 16 teams that were in when the season came to a screeching halt in mid March and away we go.
Several of my listeners have suggested a March Madness style tourney. At first I snubbed this thought. The NBA playoffs might not have the excitement of every game being “win or go home” but what they do have is the best format to crown the true champion of the league. The NFL, more often than not crowns at least a top 5 team but just like the Ravens back in 2012 proved, teams can catch fire and pull off some upsets. It’s often said that seeding in the NHL means nothing as an 8th seed has just as good a shot as a 1. Same can be said for one of the top teams in baseball. A 7 game series in basketball will, 9 times out of 10, weed out the pretenders and reward the best contenders. But given the state of things….I am starting to come around to the idea of March Madness NBA style with a few exceptions.
Why not make every round a win or go home save for the NBA Finals? It would be the most unconventional style in the most unconventional of seasons. So let’s take the Lakers and put them up against the Grizzlies and the winner moves on. Nervous time for LeBron’s Lakers but wouldn’t that be must see TV? LA would need to win 3 games to get to the finals then we go conventional, recapturing the NBA’s truth serum that is a best of 7 finals. Does this style bode well for the Nuggets? Honestly, I don’t know. Denver would face Houston in round 1 so it’s gonna be a tough matchup either way. Trust me, in a normal season I would much rather see a Nuggets/Rockets best of 7 but again, since these games won’t mean much anyway, let’s go the Beard vs. the Joker, winner moves on, loser stays home. No game 2 adjustments, no back to the drawing boards after a blowout; just two solid teams going at it after 4 months off. Somehow, someway, I think I’m in! Check out what the first round, March madness style would look like:
#1 Lakers vs. #8 Grizzlies
#2 Clippers vs. #7Mavericks
#3 Nuggets vs. #6 Rockets
#4 Jazz vs. #5 Thunder
#1 Bucks vs. #8 Magic
#2 Raptors vs. #7 Nets
#3 Celtics vs. 76ers
#4 Heat vs. #5 Pacers
So what do you think? Have any other suggestions? Feel free to bring them to our facebook or twitter account: @hullshow