The NBA will seed playoff squads based on their team record next season, and division winners will no longer have top-four protection. This was a widely expected change in policy that was voted on unanimously by the NBA’s Board of Governors. Teams in each conference will be seeded from one through eight by their win-loss record.
The Portland Trail Blazers were seed No. 4 last year due to the previous rules, and that will now be a thing of the past. The Blazers would’ve been seeded No. 6 if these changes had taken place during the 2014-15 season. This will only help the NBA, and we should see some highly competitive play next postseason.
Also, last year when the San Antonio Spurs played the Los Angeles Clippers, it was clearly the best series of the Western Conference playoffs. That was not an ideal situation for the NBA or its fans. Most of the casual viewers who only tune in for the later rounds completely missed that series, and it was a shame because of how fantastic those seven games were.
The NBA will also adjust the tiebreaker. Head-to-head results will be the first tiebreaker for seeding. Home-court advantage and winning the division will be the second tiebreaker. All in all, these changes are a huge win for the NBA, and commissioner Adam Silver deserves a lot of credit for taking action after hearing feedback from players and coaches alike. The league is set to have one of its most competitive seasons ever as a result of these decisions, but it will be interesting to see if conferences ever become obsolete. The NBA isn’t at that point quite yet.