What The NBA's Potential Schedule Changes Mean For The Durant/ Kyrie Nets
It turns out not even the National Basketball Association's schedule is safe from a "Woj Bomb."
That referring to ESPN's NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski, who reported Saturday on potential sweeping changes to the league's schedule that could take effect as soon as the 2021-22 season.
The new schedule would include rules such as:
-Reducing the regular season from 82 games down to 78 or 79
-Reseeding of the conference finalists: meaning the Lakers and Nets could face off before the NBA finals, for example, hence eliminating the East vs West for that round and beyond
-30 team in-season postseason tournament (similar to the Champions League in international soccer)
Between tanking, load management and a watered-down NBA regular season, these potential changes by NBA commissioner Adam Silver would aim to put more importance into the league before the start of the postseason.
A few weeks back, the Los Angeles Clippers made national headlines by deciding to rest superstar Kawhi Leonard for a nationally televised game versus the Milwaukee Bucks on ESPN.
The Clippers and Leonard want to avoid having him play in back-to-back games whenever possible, aiming to keep Kawhi fresh and healthy for the postseason, with the expectation that Leonard will be playing around 20 extra games into June if the team advances to the NBA Finals.
Leonard led the Toronto Raptors to their first championship in franchise history, knocking off the Durant and Klay Thompson-less Golden State Warriors in six games.
Putting an in-season postseason tournament between Thanksgiving and Christmas would keep star players on the court and maintain interest in the season during its beginning stages.
Besides from the nitty-gritty of making the league more enjoyable/ competitive for fans all year long, these changes have potential bigger implications for championship contenders like the Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving led Brooklyn Nets.
The road to the NBA finals won't be as easy or guaranteed as it once was.
No longer will fans have to worry about the prospect of the "Western Conference Finals" being the "real" NBA finals instead of vice versa.
What does this mean for Brooklyn: a scenario where the Durant-led Nets might have to beat LeBron's Los Angeles Lakers in the conference finals before having to slay the Kawhi Leonard-Los Angeles Clippers in the actual NBA Finals.
In the hypothetical world of what a Durant/ Irving Nets team would look like in the Eastern Conference, the Lakers and Clippers would likely be seen as the two biggest threats to Brooklyn. KD/Kyrie vs LeBron/AD vs Kawhi/ PG. Take your pick.
Now by reorganizing the seeding for the conference finalists by record, not conference, all three teams might have to knock off the other two in order to hold up the trophy.
Translation: A higher chance of LeBron James and Kevin Durant facing off in the playoffs, in the post-KD-Warriors NBA. A more competitive and entertaining postseason. Sign me up!
Something that never would've been the case before these changes.
Hypothetically: The conference finals could go something like this.
1. Clippers (62-20)
2. Lakers (57-25)
3. Nets (54-28)
4. 76ers (50-38)
Setting up Clippers vs 76ers and Lakers vs Nets as the matchups for a chance to advance to the Finals.
Of course, from the Lakers vantage point: they'd now have to face Kevin Durant in the conference finals just to have the opportunity to battle Kawhi and PG for the championship.
The Clipper would have to battle the star-studded 76ers first and then wait for LeBron's Lakers or Durant's Nets after that series.
The Nets would have the toughest road, having to face the LeBron/ AD Lakers before potentially facing off versus the Clippers.
Bottom line: fans and media members win. And for the players/ teams: there's no gimme. The best team will actually win. No easy road to the NBA Finals. This isn't so obvious anymore.
Teams can no longer be bailed out by playing in the weaker conference. Plus the postseason becomes even more competitive.
None of these changes are set in stone but they could set up for must-see basketball come playoff time in the future. Now, we can all get excited about that.