The NBA seems reluctant to change their playoff seeding.
Calls to revamp the playoff seeding format were reignited this week when LeBron James took his talents to Los Angeles. Many believe the disparity between Western and Eastern conference talent is too wide. The proposed idea would see 16 best regular season records advance regardless of division. League officials have been testing out the logistics of the plan since it first entered conversation. Adam Silver spoke of his early findings at the All-Star break:
"I think, as I've said in the past, the obstacle is travel, and it's not tradition in my mind, at least, it's that as we've added an extra week to the regular season, as we've tried to reduce the number of back-to-backs, that we are concerned about teams crisscrossing the country in the first round, for example. We are just concerned about the overall travel that we would have in the top 16 teams."
The league has since published its numerical observations on the matter, stating that NBA teams average 90,000 miles of travel in the postseason, but the number could rise to 130,000 if they were to implement the new playoff seeding format. There is precedent for a change in formatting, as the WNBA changed its playoff format to factor in the top 8 teams regardless of conference. Within the NBA, the fact still remains that elite teams in the Eastern Conference still benefit from playing lighter schedules in the East, as teams generally only travel East/West twice a year.