LeBron James is cool with the NBA’s new method of fielding All-Star teams each and every February.
He is not, however, on board with a proposed change that would send the 16 best squads to the playoffs irrespective of conference affiliation.
From the Associated Press’ Tom Withers (via NBA.com):
Commissioner Adam Silver recently floated a proposal where the 16 teams would be seeded regardless of their conference.
James disagrees with the concept, mostly because it “changes the landscape of the history of the game.” The three-time champion, who has played in seven straight Finals, noted that there have been junctures where one conference has dominated, but in the long run there has been balance.
“It’s cool to mess around with the All-Star Game, we proved you can do that,” said James, who picked an All-Star team this year under a new format. “But let’s not get too crazy about the playoffs.”
Spoken like a true Eastern Conference team owner.
Seriously, James’ opposition to sending the 16 best outfits to the postseason is a little bizarre. Unless he’s planning to join a team that epitomizes fringe mediocrity, such as the Charlotte Hornets, he has nothing to worry about.
Then again, he actually might. As many people pointed out on Twitter after James’ comments went live, the four-time MVP’s teams are notoriously lethargic during the regular season. The new format would make for potentially tougher opponents and, thus, force James’ squad to give more than a quarter-damn about their postseason seed.
Imagine that: a LeBron James team having to try, to scrap and claw, to care at all, before May. Talk about injustice.
James may want to warm up to the idea anyway—or at least prepare for it. The NBA has already overhauled its draft-lottery structure for 2019. Their playoff model will probably be next.