Leading Off

Leading Off: NBA needs to change playoff format

FILE - In this Oct. 6, 2014, file photo, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver answers questions at a news conference in New York. NBA owners held their first serious discussions about the playoff format, though Commissioner Adam Silver said Friday, April 17, 2015, it was too soon to tell if there was interest in changing it.
FILE - In this Oct. 6, 2014, file photo, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver answers questions at a news conference in New York. NBA owners held their first serious discussions about the playoff format, though Commissioner Adam Silver said Friday, April 17, 2015, it was too soon to tell if there was interest in changing it. AP

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and the board of governors had a shot to change the league’s playoff format last week at their annual postseason meeting in New York.

They threw up an airball, instead.

They acknowledged that it’s a shame when Western Conference teams with winning records are left out of the postseason while Eastern Conference teams with .500 or losing records advance, yet no changes were made.

At least not yet.

But why wait? Seeding playoff teams by overall record and not by conferences is overdue.

It’s too late for the Oklahoma City Thunder, which was 45-37 despite battling injuries this season. Meanwhile, three lesser Eastern Conference teams – the Bucks (41-41), Celtics (40-42) and Nets (38-44) – are in the playoffs.

It’s also too late for the 2013-14 Phoenix Suns, who won 48 games – more than four Eastern Conference playoff teams.

Imagine the disappointment for Kings fans if their team had its first winning season after so many frustrating years yet failed to qualify for the Western Conference playoffs.

So why not change? Because business has never been better.

The league recently announced it set an attendance record with nearly 22 million fans this season, an increase of 2.4 percent from last season. There also were a record 700 sellouts this season, surpassing 676 from 20 years ago.

Sorry, Western Conference, but if the NBA ain’t broke, they won’t fix it.

Victor Contreras

vcontreras@sacbee.com


What to watch

Baseball, Dodgers at Giants, 7:15 p.m., CSNBA: The Giants have three games to pull themselves back up or fall further behind the first-place Dodgers.


Twitter chatter

@JimmySpencerNBA: “Monty Williams is right, those bright yellow t-shirts are way too loud.”


On this date

2003: Peja Stojakovic scores 29 points to lead the Kings to a 108-95 win over the Utah Jazz at Arco Arena to take a 2-0 lead in the first round of the NBA playoffs.


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