Archive for July 23rd, 2015

NBA leaning toward non-guaranteed playoff spot for division champion

July 23rd, 2015 by Sam Shipley | Comments Off on NBA leaning toward non-guaranteed playoff spot for division champion | Filed in General, NBA, TalkSportsPhilly

Winning a division championship is a main goal for every team in the NBA, however, the only reward those teams may receive is a banner going forward.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said Wednesday that the league is leaning toward not guaranteeing a playoff berth to division champions. In the past the division champion has been guaranteed a top-4 conference finish no matter what their record was.

No NBA division winner has never had a record that would have not placed in the top eight, and there is less than a five percent chance of that happening, according to Silver.

In fact there have only been two instances where this rule would have changed the playoff format in recent years. The first was in 2011-12 when the Atlanta Hawks finished with a better record than the Boston Celtics, but instead finished as the fifth seed in the playoffs. It just so happens that in those playoffs the Hawks played the Celtics in the first round and did not have home court advantage, despite finishing with the better regular season record. Atlanta lost that series in six games.

The second instance was this past year, as the Portland Trail Blazers finished with the sixth best record in the Western Conference, but were awarded the fourth seed. As a result the San Antonio Spurs finished as the sixth seed and were forced to play the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round, two premier championship contenders with top four records in the conference.

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