NBA Needs To Change Playoffs, Not Schedule 

The NBA is wrong.

LeBron James is wrong.

Dirk Nowitzki is wrong, too.

The NBA is experimenting this Sunday, playing a 44-minute game exhibition game instead of a regular 48-minute tilt.

It seems misguided. What's next, three NFL quarters or seven MLB innings for a complete game.

When asked about the shorter NBA game, both James and Nowitzki chimed in with a call to shorten the season.

"It's not the minutes, it's the games," said James to the media the other day before a preseason game. "The minutes doesn't mean anything. We can play 50-minute games if we had to. It's just the games.

"We all as players think it's too many games. In our season, 82 games is a lot."

Crazy talk.

Especially when you consider that MLB plays 162 games, basically everyday for six straight months. We didn't even mention the 30 exhibition games in either Florida or Arizona.

No wonder Michael Jordan was taken aback by the comments from the current players. "As a player, I never thought 82 games was an issue," MJ told ESPN in an interview.

Jordan is right.

The problem is with the NBA's playoff system.

Players think there's too many MEANINGLESS games, not games. That's where the issue comes in.

"I think you don't need 82 games to determine the best eight teams in each conference," Nowitzki said. "That could be done a lot quicker."

It's ridiculous to play 82 games and still more than half the teams in the league make the playoffs.

That's right. Somehow, 16 of the 30 teams – often times teams even with losing records – head to the postseason and just 14 go home for vacation.

It renders the regular season almost worthless and puts the focus solely on the postseason.

Why should fans fully be vested in the regular season when for the most part, they know their team will be in the playoffs before the season even starts.

Plus, nothing a team does in the regular season really matters, except maybe home court throughout the postseason. But only one of those 16 teams gets that.

The playoffs also take two months to play. It's way too long. Games are spread out to appease the TV weekend schedule. There's nothing like watching a great playoff game and then have to wait 3-4 days for the next game. It's terrible.

Then let's acknowledge that the NBA is simply too greedy. Every series is a seven-game series, even in the first round.

That's too much, too drawn out.

It's not done for more excitement. It's just to sell more tickets. Feed the TV networks with live events.

And it wasn't always that way. In the 80s, the first round used to be a best-of-three series.

The NBA needs to turn back the clock for the playoffs.

It should be two out of three in the first round, five out of seven in the second round and a seven-game series in the conference finals and The Finals.

Even MLB, with all its games, doesn't make fans sit through all seven-game series. The Wild Card game is a one-game playoff. That's excitement. Winner takes all.

In the Division Series, it's the best-of-five. The League Championship Series and World Series are both best-of-seven.

Imagine if the NBA would play the first round like college basketball's March Madness.

Let the teams with the eight worst records fight it out. Single game elimination would be thrilling for the NBA.

It would really shake up the mix for teams competing for a title. It would be unpredictable, to say the least.

It's not that way now. The Miami Heat went to the NBA Finals the last four years in a row.

The reason the NBA ultimately won't shorten its schedule in the regular season or the postseason is simple. It's the loot.

The Association isn't going to take in less money, even though it would dramatically improve the product for the fans.

"I understand it's about money, and every missed game means missed money for (all) parties – for the league, for the owners, for the players," Nowitzki said. "I understand all that, and that's why I don't think it's going to change anytime soon."

It would be a bold move, indeed. But Commissioner Adam Silver would become a fan favorite with a much-needed postseason makeover.

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