With LeBron in LA, the NBA Playoffs Will Change

Now that LeBron James has officially become a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, the NBA Playoffs will be changing as we know them.  As it has always been, the NBA Playoffs have had a format where the top 8 teams of each conference make the playoffs, even if a team from the West has a better record than a team in the East or vice versa.  But with LeBron James playing for a team that wouldn’t normally make the playoffs with the current format, the NBA simply can’t afford to not have LeBron James in the playoffs.  It would lost too much money!  It would lose advertising dollars!  It would lose all types of revenue because you don’t have LeBron fans watching, and you don’t have LeBron haters watching.

 

Love or Hate Him, You Are Watching Him…

Love or hate LeBron James, we all watch him.  Those that love him watch him to root for him, and hope for the best.  Those that hate him want to see him lose, and love to jeer him, and hope for the worst.  But no matter what, LeBron James commands attention, and with attention comes money $$$$$.

The Current NBA Playoff Format Would Leave LeBron in the Dust…

With the NBA’s current NBA Playoff format, the Lakers may make the playoffs (barely) but also may not.  Here’s how the standings looked last year, with the Lakers missing the playoffs (obviously without LeBron).

As you can see, the West is obviously a tough conference, and, as it stands right now, LeBron and the Lakers may not make the playoffs.  If they do make the playoffs, they may have to face a team like the Houston Rockets or Golden State Warriors in the first round.  This is something the NBA cannot allow to happen, because LeBron James missing the playoffs, or LeBron James being ousted in the first round of the playoffs means a major loss of money!

The Solution…

What the NBA will end up doing is having the top 16 teams, no matter the conference they are in, making the playoffs.  And it makes a lot of sense.  Not only would this help LeBron James increase his chances of making it to the NBA Finals, but it would create match-ups we’ve never seen in the playoffs, and would create a fan frenzy like never before.  Personally, though I don’t like the idea of the NBA pandering to the needs of LeBron James, from a business standpoint and an entertainment standpoint it makes a great deal of sense.  In fact, here are the matchups you would have seen in the first round of last year’s playoffs!…

 

This means that we would have seen 9 Western Conference teams and 7 Eastern Conference teams…not so much of a disparity from your traditional 8 and 8 conference splits, right?  The only team that would have missed the playoffs in the Eastern Conference would have been the Washington Wizards, and the only team in the Western Conference to make the playoffs that missed it was the Denver Nuggets – whom by the way were 46-36 on the season.

Conclusion…

So while I don’t necessarily like the idea of the NBA giving into LeBron James, let’s face it, it’s still a league driven by the love AND the hate of LeBron James, and that makes money.  And that means it doesn’t only make sense from an entertainment sense, but it also makes a lot of sense financially.

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