PONTIFICATING FROM THE SUNSHINE STATE – MAY 21
By Leo Haggerty

WHAT DOES NBA STAND FOR

A very quick congratulatory memo to the National Basketball Association Commissioner Adam Silver.  You have made the regular season completely irrelevant.  Why have I made that statement you ask?  Follow along, my loyal loyal readers, and you will find out.

First, let’s talk about the good news.  Last year, during the pandemic, the three major professional sports leagues in North America had to do some serious scheduling modifications just to get to a playoff situation.  The National Hockey League and Major League Baseball along with the NBA had to do some serious scrambling just to complete the previous season under some extremely extenuating circumstances.  For that, I applaud all of them for their efforts.  Hey, I’m the first guy to give out a cookie when someone does a good thing, right?

Those rewards this year goes to the NHL and MLB when it comes to scheduling.  Hockey came up with an innovative way to get through their regular season considering the extreme, and some may say excessive but that’s a subject for another column, Covid protocols north of the border. Commissioner Gary Bettman and the powers that be devised a novel temporary, and I emphasize the word temporary, reshuffling of the conferences.  This allowed the NHL to isolate their seven Canadian based franchises into one division which gave the league a chance to complete a 56-game regular season along with the other 24 American organizations.

MLB backed up the start of their regular season and are attempting to navigate a 162 game regular season with the Toronto Blue Jays based in their Florida spring training facility of Dunedin.  So far, Commissioner Rob Manfred and the rest of the big league hierarchy has to be pleased with how that is transpiring.

Now, there are still some unanswered questions as to how the NHL and MLB will be conducting their playoff scenarios.  The big “fly in the ointment” will be whether the Canadian government will relax its travel restrictions so stay tuned to see how that plays out in June.

So, that takes us to the NBA.  With a chance to get back to some level of normalcy, “The Association” totally missed that mark and here’s why.

Instead of taking the top eight teams from each conference to compete in the playoffs, as the NBA has done for years, the powers that be chose to continue the “play in” concept from last year.

The 8th seed would travel to play the 7th seed while the 10th seed would be the visiting squad against the 9th seed.  The winner of the 7th vs 8th game would go in as the 7th seed while the loser of that contest would host the victor of the 9 vs 10 with the winner the 8th seed.

Yes, this worked last year when the a severely truncated schedule had to be redrawn when the NBA restarted their season in the “bubble” at the Walt Disney Resort near Orlando.  Continuing that policy this year was a huge mistake and here’s why.

The NBA was able to complete a 72-game regular season in 2020-21.  Granted, not the 82-game normal regular season but enough of a sample size to go back to the normal playoff format.

The NHL was forced into their “bubble” in Canada and they used a play in scenario last year.  This year, it was business as usual with the top four teams in each division making it to the second season even with a 56-game regular season.

The team that got the short end of the stick, or should I say no end of the stick, is Golden State.  After earning, and I repeat earning, the 8th seed in the Western Conference, the Warriors were forced to go to Los Angeles and face the Lakers then take on the Memphis Grizzlies who finished the regular season a game behind the Royal Blue and Golden Yellow.

From a financial standpoint, this puts the Warriors ownership out of any revenue from at least two home playoff tilts and possibly more.  From a fan perspective, they are deprived of watching one of the most electric performers of pro basketball in Steph Curry because of a flat-out stupid decision by the NBA.

So, as you can see, the letters NBA may also mean No Brains Association. It’s obvious that no one though through the ramifications a continued “play in” procedure could cause.

Do you think I’m off base here?  Don’t be afraid to let me where you stand on this issue.

Look for my column every Friday.  Until next week, Aloha.