After two games it’s painfully clear: The NBA needs to do away with its conferences.
Why? Because after a thrilling 7-game series between the Warriors and Thunder, the NBA Finals suddenly is anticlimactic. Golden State struggled and barely survived against Oklahoma City. But instead of a bigger, better test in the championship series, this feels like a step down scrimmage against the junior varsity.
Without stars Steph Curry and Klay Thompson scoring 20 points, the Warriors have waltzed to a 2-0 lead over the Cavaliers by a combined 48. This is the NBA Finals. Supposedly a matchup of the two best basketball teams on the planet. But the competitiveness and intensity has had all the feel of a January back-to-back.
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Because, sorry LeBron, Cleveland doesn’t deserve to be here.
The Cavs had the best record in the Eastern Conference at 57-25, and won their first 10 playoff games. They came into the Finals 12-2 in the playoffs and – poof – exposed.
They might win a game in this series before it’s over. But, sorry, they are not the second best team in the NBA. Or third.
With his use of replay, open mind toward gambling and thought of using a fourth referee, commissioner Adam Silver is a progressive thinker. So why not this? A standings system that gives you a better chance of having the two best teams play in your marquee series.
Just have one league, no conferences. You can keep divisions for tie-breakers and for silly, shallow banners if you must. But at the end of 82 games you take the 16 best records, regardless. In the playoffs No. 1 plays No. 16, and so on.
This year my system would have excluded the Rockets, included the Bulls and pitted our Mavs as the 14th seed and a first-round matchup with, yep, the Cavs. Golden State would have drawn No. 16 Chicago in the first round.
The goal, of course, would be to have the Warriors playing either the Spurs or Thunder in the Finals, not some “best of the rest” outfit like Cleveland. In a playoff season besieged by blowouts, unfortunately the Finals are holding form.
It’s time for a change.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.