A hot topic over the All Star break was Adam Silver’s pursuit of meritocracy in the playoffs. A postseason that actually involves the 16 best teams regardless of conference affiliation has been a desired adjustment to the traditional East vs. West construct.
I’m completely on board with progressive changes, especially when we have spent the majority of the last two decades watching the 10th team in the West finish with more wins than the fifth team in the East. What has surprised me over the past year is the silence with regards to lottery reform – a hot topic no less than 24 months ago (when everyone had some opinion of Sam Hinkie’s Process in Philadelphia).
Exploitation of the lottery structure was met with significant scorn from the league office and ownership groups. As a result, Hinkie resigned and the NBA smoothed out the lottery ball distribution between the bad teams moving forward. The general structure has remained unchanged though, and looking at the current NBA standings one can’t help but observe the obvious: the lottery race is way more exciting than the playoff race. Tankathon may have more views over the next few months than some tabloid sites. There are eight-to-10 teams that will spend the last 20 games of 2017-18 on a Don Quixote expedition for windmills, I mean ping pong balls. Conversely, the race to sneak into postseason play will feature just six-to-eight squads.