NBA alters playoff seeding for division winners

Sep 9, 2015 2:12 PM by Ananth Pandian - CBS Sports

Thanks to the NBA's Competition Committee, seeding for the playoffs will now solely be based on a team's record. Division winners will no longer get preferential treatment by getting a top-four seed and home-court advantage in the first round.

From a press release from the NBA:

The NBA Board of Governors unanimously approved changes to playoff seeding and qualification procedures effective with the 2015-16 season, the league announced today.

As part of the modifications, the eight playoff teams in each conference will be seeded in order of their regular-season record. Most recently, every division winner was guaranteed a top four seed in its respective conference regardless of its record but did not receive home-court advantage if its playoff opponent had a better record.

The Board also approved changes to tiebreak criteria for playoff seeding and home-court advantage. Head-to-head results have become the first criterion to break ties for playoff seeding and home-court advantage between two teams with identical regular-season records; the second criterion is whether a team won its division. Under the old tiebreak system, a division winner was awarded the higher seed and received home-court advantage in a series if the two teams met in the playoffs.

This is the right thing to do, especially since in the past, teams with more wins have often been a lower seed because of a division winner. This happened in last year's playoffs with the San Antonio Spurs.

The Spurs were the defending champs at the time and had won 55 games but because the 51-win Portland Trail Blazers were the Northwest Division champs, Portland was the fourth seed. Even though the Spurs had won more games than the Blazers, they had to face off against the higher seeded Clippers instead of the Memphis Grizzlies (who also won 55 games).

Teams can still win their division and can hang their own banner to commemorate the achievement (the Toronto Raptors are big fans of division banners) but with this change, winning a division doesn't really have any actual merit anymore.


Most Popular