How the NBA Playoffs Have Improved
Just a short one here folks.
So, we’ve finally gotten to the part of the NBA season that matters. All the tankers are on their way to the lottery, and all the stars are on their way to primetime, something every fan should rejoice in.
What has piqued my interest during these playoffs is the overall level of competitiveness being much higher than in years past. Now I know, some teams are putting up 20 and 30 point wins, but it’s more about how stacked the playing field is this season. Historically, the Eastern Conference has always been somewhat of a joke, with numerous teams boasting losing records squeaking into the playoffs each year. For the past five seasons leading up to 2018, the eighth seed in the East had won an average of 39 games, not even a .500 record. This year, the Washington Wizards own that position with a respectable record of 43-39. Put this into perspective: teams in the Eastern Conference playoffs this year have a combined 24 more wins than the playoff field in 2014, showing a definite improvement in the level of play we are seeing from playoff-caliber teams.
In addition to more wins, we are seeing (kinda) more parity in the sense that (almost) anyone has a chance in their respective series-es. The eight seed Minnesota Timberwolves lost by only three points in their opener against the top-seeded Houston Rockets, and we just saw the Wizards post an emphatic win over the one seed Toronto Raptors on their home court. The six seed New Orleans Pelicans are about to sweep the three seed Portland Trail Blazers, the Pacers are actually beating LeBron James...it’s a wonderful time to be watching basketball. For the first time in a little bit, only one team is guaranteed to make it to the Finals, and that has people excited (unless your team happens to play in the same division as the aforementioned superpower).