Last night the Memphis Grizzlies pulled off the unthinkable, sending the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs to defeat and thus eliminating them from the playoffs. Impressive. I honestly did not see that coming as the 2011 playoffs began. Memphis, the 8th seed, has a good, young team. They made the playoffs and have made the most of that opportunity. Good for them. But something does not make sense as I look at the second round.
Teams battle and fight for 82 games, for over six months, to make the playoffs. They battle for position, to try to secure home-court advantage. Guys play through injuries, knowing that one or two games could be the difference in playoff positioning. The top seed should have the easiest path to the Finals. The second seed should have the next easiest, and on down the line. The eighth seed, the worst team to get in, should have the toughest road. They “earned” it.
Well here we are in the second round of the playoffs. And the Grizzlies are not playing the second-seeded Lakers, they are facing the fourth-seeded Thunder. Now let me make one point clear here. I am not complaining because the Mavs are playing the Lakers. I am looking forward to the series as I think it should be quite entertaining. I like the Mavericks chances. But the system needs to be fixed. No other league sets the seeding in stone before the playoffs begin.
They re-seed after every round so that the highest remaining seed reaps the benefits of the regular season success. The Lakers should get to play the Grizzlies and the Mavs should be playing the Thunder (not a pleasant option either). The Mavs, the third seed, should have home-court this round because of the ouster of the Spurs. The Lakers, with the second best record, should be rewarded by playing the lowest seed, the Grizz. Set aside potential matchup issues, who would you rather the play, the third-seed or the eighth?
How can we say that the regular season really means that much if the fourth seed gets home-court in the second round but the third seed does not? This is insane! The Thunder are being rewarded for having the fourth best record! The NBA needs to fix this. And it’s not like it is that difficult. You set the first round and then wait until the first round is over to set the next round. A fifth-grader could do it! So come on David Stern. I know you are a smart man. I know that you want the NBA to be a first-class league. Let’s fix this ridiculous system. Let’s fix it now.