The first game of the 2011 NBA Playoffs was on April 16.
Game 7 of the NBA Finals was scheduled for June 14, 2011.
That’s two months of playoffs. Playoffs are supposed to be the most exciting, fascinating and interesting time in a sport’s season, but the length of the NBA playoffs takes away from their appeal.
The NBA playoffs drag on longer than, and are just as unbearable as, trips to the dentist.
Obviously there are plenty of people who love basketball and enjoy all that it has to offer, but two months of playoffs is nothing short of excessive and unnecessary.
“The NBA regular season ended so long ago that you almost forget they are still playing for THIS year’s title,” NPR’s Frank DeFord said. “June is simply no time for winter sports…it’s June.”
While length is the primary problem, the flaws in the NBA playoffs extend far beyond what DeFord mentioned.
There are too many teams, too many games and too many off days.
Over half of the teams in the NBA make the playoffs, and there are teams with losing records that make the playoffs nearly every year. If making the playoffs is apparently so easy, why is there even a regular season?
Why doesn’t the NBA just start the season by eliminating the Warriors, Clippers, Timberwolves, Cavaliers, Kings and so on and just start the playoffs?
Let’s save everyone the regular season, which is about as appealing as spoiled milk.
If the NBA wants to have an absurd number of teams in the first round, then they should at least shorten the first round.
Having the one-seed versus the eight-seed and the two-seed versus the seven seed in a best-of-seven format is over the top, as a best of five would work fine for the first round.
Since the playoffs were lengthened in 2003, the eight-seed has only upset the top-seed twice, and both times the eight seed was bounced in the second round.
The four versus five matchup is more often than not the only first-round matchup that is competitive.
But shortening the first round would immediately enhance the intrigue because it would reduce a team’s margin for error, which is what the playoffs are supposed to be all about anyways.
Don’t think the first round is too long? Take a look at the potential dates.
If one team sweeps their first round opponent, it is possible that they will have two weeks off before playing their second-round game if the other series goes to seven games.
No team should ever have a two-week break at any point in the season, playoffs especially. This is a rare scenario, but the fact that it is even possible is obnoxious.
The length of time between series results from another problem that the playoffs have: There are too many off days between individual games.
In a typical NBA playoff series, there is a day off between every game and two days off for travel.
Obviously the players need rest, but there is no need for this much down time.
Baseball is often maligned for having an extensive season and while their season is a grueling, 162 games, they get their playoffs done in less than a month.
The baseball playoffs began on October 6, 2010, and ended on November 1, 2010.
Part of what makes the baseball playoffs so exciting is the fact that there are always games going on. Baseball only takes one day to travel and otherwise plays everyday. The constant action keeps fans interested and involved, but the same cannot be said about the NBA.
The days off between games take away from the flow of the series. Yes, the players need rest, but they play plenty of back-to-backs during the regular season and are perfectly capable of playing them during the playoffs.
It is really hard to follow a NBA playoff series and get into the flow of things when there is seemingly a week between games and a month between each series.