Miami Heat

NBA All-Star Break: State of the League (Part 2 of 2)

David Stern and the 1 finger pose-what a thinker
David Stern and the 1 finger pose-what a thinkerNoel Vasquez/Getty Images
Harry KaneContributor IFebruary 22, 2011

In part 1, we agreed that a 53-game season is plenty of time to state your case as an NBA team.  After this regular season is complete, fans are treated to a weekend of slams, jams, and thank you ma’ams, also known as All-Star Weekend.

We now have three months with which to stage a brand new, better than ever, call in sick to work (even though the games will still be played at night and on weekends), put the children to sleep, lace up the loafers, winner-take-all, hoop mania, baller, shot caller, UEFA Champions League-style NBA postseason.

The UEFA Champions League is probably the best league/tournament in the world.  To make a long story short, the champion of each European country’s soccer league is invited to play in a 32-team, 6-month long tournament to determine the best team on the continent, and for all intents and purposes, the best team in the world, since the best club teams in the world are in Europe.

We are not going to duplicate their format entirely, but there are some principles we will apply.

Now, which teams will qualify for the postseason?

Answer: all of them, of course.

Money is the ultimate motivating force.  There is no way to expect owners to agree to losing 29-games without making it up some way. 

While college basketball lays claim to that exhilarating one-and-done postseason tournament which captures the attention of campuses around the country known as the NIT, the NBA will now be able to sport its own version of a tournament in which no team really wants to participate.

However, the NBA NIT tournament will be quite meaningful.  Draft position will be at stake.

More importantly, which teams will qualify for the championship tournament?

Instead of the top eight teams in each conference advancing to the playoffs, we will take the top team from each division, along with the 10 best teams remaining in the entire league. 

No longer will a sub-.500 team waste our time by maybe squeaking out 1 win in Game 3 of a playoff series on the way to the all too predictable 4-1 series loss.

There are six automatic bids, and 10 wild cards.



I love a bracket as much as the next guy, or gal.  I like they way it looks even with no teams yet inserted.  It has a nice shape.

I really get the blood flowing when the teams are inserted and possible match-ups loom.  Whether it is a single-elimination or best of seven, a tournament bracket is one of the more beautiful sights in sports.

But there are no brackets to speak of just yet.  We have 16 teams, a perfect number for bracketology, but this is the new NBA postseason, not the NBA playoffs that we know and love, but whose time has come and gone.

No, we still have plenty of basketball to play, and it’s not going to be against just one team. 

The new NBA postseason will still consist of four rounds:


First Round

Four groups, four teams each.  Each team will play every team in its group four times for a total of 12 games.  The top two teams advance to the next round. 

Second Round

Two groups, four teams each.  Each team will play every team in its group four times for a total of 12 games.  The top two teams advance to the next round.

Third Round

One group, four teams.  Each team will play every team four times for a total of 12 games.  Top two teams advance.


NBA Finals.  Best of 7.


Groups will be made up by seeds. 

Group A will consist of the No. 1 overall seed and three wild cards.

Group B will consist of the opposite conference’s No. 1 seed and three wild cards.

Group C will consist of conference 2 and 3 seeds and two wild cards.

Group D will consist of conference 2 and 3 seeds and two wild cards.


The top 2 teams from Groups A and C will combine to form one group, while the top 2 teams from Groups B and D will form the other second round group.

Group is starting to sound like a foreign word at this point.

Pretty simple stuff, isn’t it?  What if the postseason started today? How would the groups look?


Group A

San Antonio, WC2 Orlando, WC3 Atlanta, WC10 Phoenix


Group B

Boston, WC1 Dallas, WC4 Portland, WC9 New York


Group C

Miami, Chicago, WC5 New Orleans, WC8 Memphis


Group D

Los Angeles, Oklahoma City, WC6 Denver, WC7 Utah


The schedule is a toe-curler as well.  The higher seed has home-court advantage each game throughout group play.  This means the 1 seed will play every game at home, while the lowest seed plays every game on the road. 

The second seed will play eight home games and four road games and the third seed will play four games at home and eight games on the road.



A more meaningful and shorter regular season.  Potential group match-ups changing daily.  Intraconference contests and no heads-up meetings until the Finals.  Three 12-game mini-seasons, each eliminating half the field. 

I like it, even if it’s just because it’s new.

Oh, and for the remaining 14 teams?

The two teams with the worst record receive a first-round bye in a best of five, four round playoff which will determine what teams receive the first four draft picks in June’s draft.

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