The Most Effective Way To Balance The NBA


It’s widely believed that the NBA needs to restructure how the conferences are set up, Due to the competitive imbalance. The Eastern Conference is not producing enough competitive teams and clubs with bad records are making the playoffs. On the other hand, the Western Conference is overridden with talented teams and many organizations with good records do not make the playoffs. This imbalance has many clamoring for an adjustment to the current conference framework in the NBA.

A few ideas have been thrown out there. The first would be to make an NBA mega conference and have the top 16 teams in the NBA compete in the playoffs. The issues with this structure are that the playoffs would have very uneven match-ups in the early rounds with the #1 seed facing the #16 seed. Some games would almost be pointless. The scheduling for the regular season would get more complicated and the teams would never get used to playing each other. In conferences you have more competitive games because scheduling has them face each other with a higher frequency than everyone else which results in familiarity between the teams and greater consequences within their conference standings.

The main reason for splitting the conferences is so that teams travel less distance. They are structured in a way that limits the continual cross country road trip. Conference’s need to be kept so players don’t have to travel across the country as much.

The other idea would be to move teams around and create evenly competitive conferences. Although some western and eastern teams are close; the amount of traveling that would be added to swapping conferences would be an unfair disadvantage to those switching.

Although the competition would be better and everyone would get a more equal opportunity to make the playoffs, the fix would be short term. It is likely that the imbalance would return within a matter of years. The competitiveness of a franchise changes as players develop and free agents move around, so their is no need for teams to swap conferences.

The NBA draft is always what’s balanced out conferences in the past and will continue to do so. Just look a the championships won by each conference; the West with 23 and the East with 21. So historically there is no imbalance of competition.

Eventually the East will become just as good as the West, however the imbalance could be rectified quicker if they changed the draft format. Instead of the lottery, they could go by record like most professional sports leagues.

This would guarantee the leagues worst team would get the top pick, instead of a lucky team getting a pick they don’t deserve. Although the draft lottery is exciting and some teams would rather have a chance at a higher pick, it is largely unfair to teams who lost all year long and don’t get a top pick.

If Adam Silver were to make a change to the NBA draft format so that teams were compensated properly, this would add to an already improving resume. The good thing is, it’s a simple proposal and something most of the league would agree upon.

Changing the draft format is far less ludicrous than changing the conference format, and would take far less time. Even if no change is made, the NBA will naturally balance itself out in time.



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