If the NBA playoffs ended today, the New Orleans Pelicans (26-23) and Oklahoma City Thunder (25-24) would be the first two teams out of the Western Conference playoffs.
Were they in the Eastern Conference, they'd be the last two in.
There would be no reward for the Pelicans and Thunder for playing in the stronger conference, though that might be subject to change, according to Commissioner Adam Silver.
Silver said as much Wednesday in an interview with Comcast SportsNet Bay Area during a Golden State Warriors-Dallas Mavericks game.
"Ultimately, we want to see your best teams in the playoffs," Silver said. "And there is an unbalance and a certain unfairness."
One such proposal Silver discussed to improve the playoffs would be to include each of the division winners followed by the next 10 best teams, recordwise, regardless of conference.
Such a change would currently put the Charlotte Hornets (22-27) and Miami Heat (21-28) on the outside of the postseason. If the Hornets and Heat were in the West, they'd be the 11th and 12th seeds, respectively.
"I think that’s the kind of proposal we need to look at. There are travel issues of course, but in this day and age every team of course has their own plane, travels charter," Silver said. "I don’t think the discussion should end there."
Among those travel issues is making cross-country arrangements for the first round of the playoffs, think Clippers vs. Washington Wizards. Any such proposal could also be met be criticism from owners on both sides reluctant to give up postseason games for the sake of better competition.
"As I’ve said, my first year I was studying a lot of these issues and Year 2 is time to take action," Silver said. "It’s something I’m going to look at closely with the competition committee. I do think it’s an area where we need to make a change."
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