NBA hints towards changing playoff format to top 16 teams but believes travel could be an issue

NBA All-Star Game 2018 - Commissioner Adam Silver Press Conference

While the NBA playoffs can be an exciting time for some fans, the lack of quality balance between the Eastern and Western Conference means sometimes the postseason isn't as appealing as it could be.

One of the proposed changes to the playoff structure is to adjust how teams book themselves a spot in the postseason in the first place. Rather than having the eight best teams in each conference, many have suggested the top 16 teams across the entire league go to the playoffs instead.

According to CBS Sports, the NBA commissioner Adam Silver is considering a change to the playoff structure that would see the top 16 teams with the best overall record in the league being awarded postseason spots, but travel between these teams is a big hurdle that needs to be overcome first. 

Silver said: "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.

"Having said that, you also would like to have a format where your two best teams are ultimately going to meet in the Finals, and obviously, if it's the top team in the East and the top team in the West, I'm not saying this is the case this year, but you could have a situation where the top two teams in the league are meeting in the conference finals or somewhere else.

"So we're going to continue to look at that. It's still my hope that we're going to figure out ways. Maybe ultimately you have to add even more days to the season to spread it out a little bit more to deal with the travel. Maybe air travel will get better. All things we'll keep looking at."

2017 NBA Finals - Game Five

Having the best 16 teams in the NBA in the playoffs instead of the best eight teams in the two conferences would make the postseason more exciting for fans to watch, and it would also likely mean the best teams in the league will get closer to making a Finals appearance than what the current format allows.

However, as the NBA commissioner has mentioned above, the biggest obstacle that is stopping this idea from becoming a reality is travel. Some teams may have to travel more around the country for their games than others in this format, which isn't ideal nor is it fair.

Progress is being made towards changing the playoff format, but the travel issue is a big hurdle the NBA needs to overcome.

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