Spencer Dinwiddie is proposing a March Madness-style NBA playoffs upon the league’s resumption, but we can take this idea even further.
There is no telling how long the NBA’s current hiatus will last. The league is planning on reevaluating the situation in 30 days, but there’s no guarantee the league will be ready to resume the season at that point.
“We already play a 16-team playoff basically. We’re losing roughly 18 games. Current viewers have said they wait for it to get exciting/playoff time. Also, we see the reception of March Madness,” Dinwiddie wrote in a Twitter thread.
“We could do a five-game tuneup and just jump straight to a March Madness best of seven, winner take all, every team tournament. Not bound by conference but all 1-30 just getting to it bracket style. Every game would be nationally televised, fans would go crazy.
“Could even neutral site the play-in series (since 30 isn’t an even breakdown) in a football arena like the national championship to try to recoup some revenue.”
Dinwiddie is a little bit vague on how the play-in games would work, but this isn’t a bad idea, in theory. He’s arguing for something completely outside the box: allow every NBA team into the playoff.
Fans are going to go bonkers when sports finally return. People are still coming to grips with the fact that sports are going away for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, figuring out ways to salvage the season is going to be a method to cope.
Taking Dinwiddie’s plan a step further
Dinwiddie alludes to the fact that 30 isn’t an even breakdown.
That’s fine, 30 is a perfect number anyway. The idea for a five-game tuneup makes perfect sense, but after that, the NBA should have a 30-team tournament with the top two teams receiving a bye into the round of 16—more on those teams later.
The other 28 teams are matched up by league standings for a three-game series.
- #3 Toronto Raptors vs. #30 Golden State Warriors
- #4 Los Angeles Clippers vs. #29 Cleveland Cavaliers
- #5 Boston Celtics vs. #28 Minnesota Timberwolves
- #6 Denver Nuggets vs. #27 Atlanta Hawks
- #7 Utah Jazz vs. #26 Detroit Pistons
- #8 Miami Heat vs. #25 New York Knicks
- #9 Oklahoma City Thunder vs. #24 Chicago Bulls
- #10 Houston Rockets vs. #23 Charlotte Hornets
- #11 Indiana Pacers vs. #22 Washington Wizards
- #12 Philadelphia 76ers vs. #21 Phoenix Suns
- #13 Dallas Mavericks vs. #20 San Antonio Spurs
- #14 Memphis Grizzlies vs. #19 Sacramento Kings
- #15 Brooklyn Nets vs. #18 New Orleans Pelicans
- #16 Orlando Magic vs. #17 Portland Trail Blazers
Obviously, matchups would change slightly after the five-game tuneup, but those are some incredible matchups. Imagine a fully healthy Warriors as the 30-seed? And they’d be playing the Raptors in the first round! There is some serious upset potential in these first-round matchups.
Following the first round, the league would reseed each team into a 16-team bracket. Best-of-seven series would commence. Other than some cross-conference matchups prior to the NBA Finals, the playoff format we know and love would still be there.
Now, back to those top two teams—the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers. Instead of a three-game series, these two teams would play one game for a regular-season championship. Fans would end up with one more installment of LeBron James vs. Giannis Antetokounmpo.
If the All-Star Game showed us anything, players will play hard given the right motivation. From a competitive standpoint, one game will make sure each team stays fresh while the other 28 teams are battling it out in a best-of-three series.
Additionally, the league could use the game to honor Kobe Bryant once more. The winner could win the “Kobe Bryant Cup” or something along those lines.
It’s only been a couple of days and life without basketball moves slow. No matter how basketball returns, fans will embrace the sport. When the game finally comes back, hopefully, the league can figure out creative ways to make this horrendous season finish on a positive note.