Monday, November 25, 2013

NBA Divisional Re-Alignment Proposal

Several basketball pundits, including Grantland's Zach Lowe have suggested the abolishment of the NBA's current divisions. This is in reaction to the recent collapse of the Nets and Knicks, and the ascension of the Toronto Raptors to the top of the NBA's Titanic (err... Atlantic) division. Additionally, the imbalance between the NBA's Eastern and Western Conferences have led to a desire for change in the way the league's 16 playoff teams are selected.

Perhaps this is the year, then, that the NBA will finally have to confront the reality that divisions are stupid and should be abolished. 
Grantland: Abolish (Useless) NBA Divisions: Step 1 of a Radical Plan

Here, I intend to present an idea that involves neither the destruction of the league's Eastern and Western Conference systems, nor the removal of the NBA's divisions. Rather, I believe the NBA should adopt a format similar to those of the NFL and MLB.

The league should keep the two conference/four divisions per conference system but rename them the NBC (National Basketball Conference - containing the NBC East, Central and West) and the ABC (American Basketball Conference - containing the ABC East, Central and West). Here's what the league could potentially look like:

American Basketball Conference (ABC)

National Basketball Conference (NBC)

ABC East

NBC East

Boston Celtics
Charlotte Hornets
New York Knicks
Orlando Magic
Toronto Raptors
Atlanta Hawks
Brooklyn Nets
Miami Heat
Philadelphia 76ers
Washington Wizards

ABC Central

NBC Central

Milwaukee Bucks
Minnesota Timberwolves
New Orleans Pelicans
Oklahoma City Thunder
San Antonio Spurs
Chicago Bulls
Cleveland Cavaliers
Detroit Pistons
Indiana Pacers
Memphis Grizzlies

ABC West

NBC West

Denver Nuggets
Golden State Warriors
Los Angeles Clippers
Sacramento Kings
Utah Jazz
Dallas Mavericks
Houston Rockets
Los Angeles Lakers
Phoenix Suns
Portland Trailblazers

This would drastically increase competitive balance within the NBA. Each division has at least one current contending team (with the exception of the ABC East, but considering the market sizes of three of those franchises that would not be a long-term issue), with both conferences each having their fair share of championship contenders.