NBA changes playoff format: division winners not guaranteed top four seed

1:01 | NBA
NBA playoff seeding format to reward overall record
Tuesday September 8th, 2015

NBA divisional champions will no longer be guaranteed a top four playoff seed.

The NBA announced Tuesday that changes to playoff seeding and qualifications have been unanimously approved by the league's board of governors and will go into effect in the upcoming 2015-16 season.

The eight playoff teams in both Eastern and Western conferences will be sorted, respectively, by regular-season record. Division winners will no longer automatically receive a top four seed and home court advantage in the first round. 

Roundtable: Which NBA star would make best talk-show host?

The Board also approved changes in the playoff seeding tiebreaker system. Head to head results between two teams with the same regular-season record will become the first criterion. If two teams tied during the season, then whichever team won its division will be given the higher seed. 

Both changes were unanimously recommended by the NBA's competition committee prior to the board vote.

Jeremy Woo

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide—from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Andy Staples, Grant Wahl, and more—delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.