Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is among the most savvy executives in the sports world. From a pure likability standpoint, he’s also one of the first ones that comes to mind. Though, Cuban’s outspoken mentality has not exactly made him best friends with the league itself.
Cuban had in the past talked about how tanking is ruining the product we see on the court in the second half of a season. If a team understands it’s not going to be in contention, what is to stop it from resting its top players while attempting to “earn” the highest possible draft pick?
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Increasing the playoff field to 10 teams per conference would likely do this.
Under this proposal, the first round would likely pit the bottom four teams against one another for the right to move on to the second round against the top-six teams. In theory, it would definitely work.
That’s in theory only.
First off, the NBA playoffs are already too long as it currently stands. Right now, the postseason lasts as long as half of the NFL regular season. No one really wants to watch a watered-down playoff product for another week or two.
Secondly, an extended playoff format in the Eastern Conference would be an absolute dumpster fire. It would have included four teams that finished this past regular season under .500. Heck, a 32-win Detroit Pistons squad wouldn’t have been completely out of the race until the last week of the regular season.
Looking at it through a Western Conference lens, Cuban does have a point. The Oklahoma City Thunder missed the playoffs with a 45-37 record. Though, the 10th seed would have been a 39-win Phoenix Suns team.