Seeding system may be tweaked for play-offs

LOS ANGELES • Among the areas the National Basketball Association (NBA) is looking at ways to improve is play-off reseeding, commissioner Adam Silver confirmed at his annual All-Star Weekend press conference on Saturday.

Being considered is the idea of continuing to take the top eight teams from each conference, but then seeding them from one to 16. Such a system could pave the way for the top two overall teams facing in the Finals regardless of conference.

"You also would like to have a format where your two best teams are ultimately going to meet in the Finals," Silver said at the Staples Center.

"I'm not saying this is the case this year, but you could have a situation where the top two teams in the league are meeting in the conference finals or somewhere else. So we're going to continue to look at that."

The two best teams so far this season are the Houston Rockets (44-13) and defending champions Golden State Warriors (44-14).

Both sides feature in the Western Conference. The Toronto Raptors (41-16) are leading the Eastern Conference.

Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz, donning a retro Darrell Griffith Jazz jersey complete with short shorts, soars and dunks over his sister Jordan, American comedian Kevin Hart and his 10-year-old son Hendrix, in his second dunk of the NBA Slam Dunk
Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz, donning a retro Darrell Griffith Jazz jersey complete with short shorts, soars and dunks over his sister Jordan, American comedian Kevin Hart and his 10-year-old son Hendrix, in his second dunk of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest at the Staples Center on Saturday. Mitchell scored a perfect 50 points for that dunk en route to winning the competition. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A chief concern for Silver regarding the considered change remains travel scheduling.

Among the solutions he offered is creating a more balanced schedule in order to accommodate the potential of more frequent cross-country trips in the play-offs.

"Maybe ultimately you have to add even more days to the season to spread it out a little bit more to deal with the travel," he said.

Any such change would require approval from 20 of the 30 teams.

Two teams currently out of the play-off picture found themselves well represented on Saturday.

Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz edged Larry Nance Jr of the Cleveland Cavaliers 98-96 to win the Slam Dunk Contest. Rookie Mitchell, a late addition after Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon had to withdraw because of a hip injury, scored a perfect 50 twice over four dunks.

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker won the Three-Point Contest by scoring a record 28 points of a possible 34 in the final round, defeating the Warriors' Klay Thompson, the 2016 champion who had 25 points, and the Los Angeles Clippers' Tobias Harris, who had 17.

"The season is not going (according to) how we planned, but I know a lot of the city was ready for this All-Star Weekend and having somebody participate," said Booker. "So I'm glad I could win it."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 19, 2018, with the headline 'Seeding system may be tweaked for play-offs'. Print Edition | Subscribe