D-League, NBA / Mar 9, 2009 / 3:13 pm

The Return of Real NBA Rivalries


You know how the NBA playoff first round seeding system seems to be an issue every year because teams with better records can get lower seeds than division winners with worse records? It’s good to know that that League office is at least considering different avenues – today the NBA Development League announced a brand-new way of attacking playoff seeds where the top three seeds will get to choose who they play in the first round.

From the D-League’s web site:

For the first time, eight teams will qualify for the 2009 NBA D-League postseason, including the winners of the three divisions along with the five teams with the best regular season records, regardless of division.

New for the 2009 postseason, the three division winners will have the unique opportunity to select their first round opponent from the teams ranked five through eight. The top-seeded division winner will select its opponent first, with the second and third ranked division winners following in that order. The fourth seeded team will play the remaining team.

We’re actually feeling this in the Dime office and we’re interested in how it would play out in the L. We can picture all the drama going into scrutinizing first-round matchups and the media would go crazy trying to predict who the top seeds would select. Plus it could do wonders for rivalries – in a league that’s starved for real rivalries these days – as teams would look to match up with the weakest playoff squads. Remember a few years back when the eighth-seeded Warriors knocked off the top-seeded Mavs?

All cool to think about, but could it actually work?

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  • jryu

    i dont know how feasible an idea it is to put in practice but it sounds cool to try out.

    imagine how hard the teams vying for that last 3rd seed would play in the closing weeks of the season–not just playing for home court but playing for the chance to pick your opponent?? they’d lay it all out on the line for sure.

    at the same time, if you pick to play a team and they end up beating you, that’s gonna be humiliating and probably gonna lead to someone getting fired haha.

    maybe in a couple years when they need to inject some excitement into the league, they’ll take the plunge and try this crazy system out

  • DunKnow

    I love this concept!
    This will make the 1st round of the playoffs so intense. Everybody will be playing for pride.

    “They picked to play us in the 1st round? Lets show them something, prove them wrong.”

  • doc

    Bullshit.U dont let people pick who they play.

  • George W Kush Sr

    For now, it seems like a pretty cool idea. It would definitely makes team 6-7-8 fight to be in 5th place, and have 4-5th place teams fight like hell to get into third place. Interesting.

    I also had an idea about teams tanking to get better lottery draft position. How about we reward teams that finish in 8th and 9th place the 9th and 10th pick in the draft? It automatically rewards the teams that chased to the end, and in theory, garantees them a good player coming in the Draft. What y’all think?

  • George W Kush Sr

    ** I meant the teams that finish in 9th place in each conference get the 9th and 10th pick in the draft **

  • Crabhands

    Just go all the way.

    No more divisions.
    No more conferences.

    Top 16 teams by record.

    Top 7 get to choose (in order of their final record) who they play in the 1st round amongst 9-16. Team 8 gets who ever wasn’t picked.

  • Ian

    sounds ok but i like the reseeding after every round better that way you avoid having the 2 best records playin in the second round. also can u imagine a team like the spurs or lakers going tru injuries the whole season and getting that 6-8th spot with a healhty roster at the end i bet that the teams in the spot 3 will drop games like crazy to avoid picking one of them.

  • Ian

    crabhands i like it also but again with resseding on case there is an upset

  • loganlight

    I’m not sure I like this… but I DO like that the NBADL is doing its best to mix things up.

  • karizmatic

    It would do wonders for rivalries and gossip…I think it’s a stupid idea though.

  • srb

    I always thought the winner of each division should be guaranteed a spot, but not guaranteed any particular seed. Interesting idea, but I wouldn’t want to see it happen. Could backfire for the top teams if they basically call out their opponent with everything on the line.

  • http://allthatjazzbasketball.blogspot.com/ Amar

    this could be a really bad-ass decision. it’s great FOR THE NETWORKS mostly, and the nba/nbadl second. hopefully it works for three seasons in the NBA-dl before they add tweaks to the system and bring it up to the big money boys in the nba. (like the people who vote on all those things like bringing in the three point line, to taking away hand checks)

    then again, it becomes a bit like WWE in some ways with some teams fighting it out this way. i’m kind of for this in a way, anything that gives the jazz a better chance of NOT having to play the lakers or spurs early on in the playoffs.

  • http://dimemag.com Austin Burton

    Can you imagine players/coaches trying to stay diplomatic in interviews when asked why they chose to play a certain team?

    Like Gregg Popovich trying to explain why he chose the Suns without just saying, “Because they’re our bitches.”

  • George W Kush Sr

    Like when Pedro said the Yankees are his daddy?

  • Will

    Wow …….I once thought of having a cheerleader flash you every time the home team takes a charge, but I never thought of this…. and this idea is almost as good as my cheerleader fantasy…..

    I never thought of that. Basketball wise this is a very good thing.

    Ian- this is very purpose of changing the rule.

    You say:
    “…can u imagine a team like the spurs or lakers going tru injuries the whole season and getting that 6-8th spot with a healhty roster at the end i bet that the teams in the spot 3 will drop games like crazy to avoid picking one of them.”

    What would happen with your example in today’s rules? Ill tell you…..The 1 seed will play the 8th seed; the same eighth seed that’s better than the seventh seed. That is not fair to the 1 seed that worked its butt off all season to play the weakest team in the first round and that sir, why I think they should be able pick.

    The purpose of playing the season is to get an advantage seeding and/or Home Court Adv. wise come playoff time. If the eight seed is actually better than the seventh seed because of an injury prone season then doesn’t THAT defeat the purpose of seeding.

    I think you argued for this rule and don’t even know it. You fall into the American mindset of defending the rule itself, not the intentions of the rule…………is that too deep for a basketball forum?


    We should all be able to smoke ganja. Don’t tell me its bad because its against the law!$%#%$%$^5

    Uh……..uhh…..I mean this rule should be implemented worldwide.

  • dagwaller

    Sounds like a great idea to me. Isn’t the idea to reward the teams that play the best?

  • Big Island

    I like it. It gives makes the lower seed teams try to look good going in so nobody wants to pick them rather than wanting the 7 seed to play a team they own over being a 6 seed and getting someone who would roll em. I think the L should take the division winners and then the best records of who is left, throw them in a 1-16 seed based on record, and boom. Either way, people are talking about it. My worthless 2 cents.

  • Raj S

    Imagine a couple of years ago when the Mavs, as the top seed, were matched up against the eighth-seeded Warriors. If they had a choice, the Mavs (probably) wouldn’t have picked to see them in the first round. However, a lot of people would talk so much shit saying the Mavs were scared and whatnot.
    Extra drama, extra incentive to get a higher seed, extra pressure for higher seeds to win in the first-round, extra accountability for GMs and coaches, AND it adds a much needed wrinkle into the NBA playoff system. I like it.

  • http://dimemag.com solomon (el latino machismo)

    lol @ post #12

  • thomasmmm
  • biggeddy

    I could see money playing a role in this. A team like the Lakers would pick the Suns for sure if they make the playoffs, even though they have a player like shaq who could get hot in a series and win it himself. The Lakers know that they could make a ton of dollars by playing a series with Shaq and the hated suns. In the east, cleveland will take Miami, no matter how high miami finishes. Lebron and Wade in a playoff series against each other??? Cha ching…

    Plus it brings in some strategy, what if the 4th place team, has some injuries, would one of the top 3 teams pick them just to knock off an injury depleted team before they become dangerous? Or back in 2007, there is no way the Mavs choose the warriors in the 1st round. The warriors owned the mavs in the reg season.

    The idea would make things very interesting.