Solving the NBA's Conference Imbalance
Get rid of them!
by James Leroy Wilson
May 26, 2015
As of this writing, the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers appear headed to the NBA Finals.
In such a contest, the Warriors will be heavily favored because it's facing an exhausted LeBron James, and a hobbled Kyrie Irving. It won't have to face the injured Kevin Love at all.
That a broken Cavs team can go up 3-0 on the 60-win Atlanta Hawks team is a testament to James's greatness. But many also say it underscores the weakness of the Eastern Conference.
The complaint's been ongoing for years. Since Michael Jordan retired, the West has won 11 out of 16 titles. Sometimes, a 45-win team in the West missed the playoffs the same year one or two teams with losing records made it in the East.
Some, notably Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, have called for conference re-alignment.
But I have a question: why have conferences at all?
The reason seems to be, "because we've always had them!" It's ingrained in major American sports leagues.
But the NBA can shake it up. Instead of two conferences of three divisions just, have five divisions.
These teams will be geographically close -- or as close as can be in the West. At least, no one has to travel across two time zones to face division rivals, as three teams in the Northwest Division currently have to do.
Here are the proposed divisions, followed by explanations of scheduling and the playoffs:
Great Lakes (or, for fun, the Jordan Division)
Northeast (Russell Division)
Southeast (um, uh, Elvis Division?)
Southwest (Duncan Division)
Pacific (Kareem Division)
Total: 82 games, same as now!
(No need to go on with further tie-breakers at this point.)
This will mean:
Why have conferences?
About the Author:
James Leroy Wilson is author of Ron Paul Is A Nut (And So Am I). He blogs at Independent Country and writes for DownsizeDC.org and the Zero Aggression Project. Opinions expressed here do not represent the views of anyone but himself.
This column appears every Tuesday only in The Partial Observer.
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