ZandrickEllison 2:09 pm Thu Mar 14 EDT 1 ups @ 1.00 Deleted

Of course, the most popular realignment idea would be to abandon conferences and re-seed the playoff bracket 1-16 after the regular season. However, another unconventional idea that has been [floated before](https://www.reddit.com/r/nba/comments/6lxkf5/oc_drastic_realignment_idea/?st=jt8xdngy&sh=dbafd3ab) is to go in the opposite direction. **Establish MORE conferences.** Specifically, divide the NBA into four separate "leagues." THE ATLANTIC LEAGUE: Baltimore (expansion team!), Boston, Brooklyn, N.Y. Knicks, Miami, Orlando, Philadelphia, Washington THE NORTHERN LEAGUE: Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Indiana, Milwaukee, Minnesota, Toronto THE SOUTHERN LEAGUE: Atlanta, Dallas, Charlotte, Houston, Memphis, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, San Antonio THE PACIFIC LEAGUE: Golden State, L.A. Clippers, L.A. Lakers, Phoenix, Portland, Sacramento, Seattle (theyre back!), Utah Why? Whats the point? Well, right now there are a lot of teams and fans with a "title or bust!" mentality. And in a league with 30 teams, that means were going to have a lot of busts and a lot of disappointment. Creating 4 separate mini-playoff tournaments and 4 "League Titles" would satisfy more teams and give them something to hang their hats on. An NBA title would be the ultimate goal, but a "league title" would be a worthy (and attainable) pursuit as well. Furthermore, you can re-seed the field after the league championships, which may help ensure that the best two teams meet in the Finals. No doubt, theres some sizable downside with this proposal as well. Theres a chance that a good team may miss the playoffs (or a great team may miss the "Final Four") because they wound up in a stacked division/league. Given the upside/downside of the idea, I thought it may be a good time to check in and see how it would look in practice. Note: this isnt an entirely fair exercise for several reasons. The schedule is imbalanced right now, and teams arent aware that theyre in these hypothetical divisions. If they were, they would be jockeying for position against their division rivals not their conference rivals. But with those caveats in mind, lets take a look. **Atlantic League playoffs** 1-seed Philadelphia (43-25) vs. #4 Miami (32-35) #2 Boston (41-27) vs. #3 Brooklyn (36-34) *missed the cut*: Orlando (31-38), Washington (29-39) *takeaway* : Not much of a change here from the norm, since this is essentially a slice of life in the current Eastern Conference. Ultimately, you would expect Philadelphia and Boston to battle for the League Title. **Northern League playoffs** 1-seed Milwaukee (51-17) vs. # 4 Indiana (43-25) #2 Toronto (48-20) vs. # 3 Denver (44-22) *missed the cut*: Detroit (34-33), Minnesota (32-36) *takeaway* : This is a stacked league this year, which hurts Detroit most of all. They are currently in the field in the East, but would miss out in our system. Moreover, Milwaukee, Toronto, and Denver are all great teams that would be fighting for one single "Final Four" ticket. **Southern League playoffs** 1-seed Oklahoma City (42-26) vs. # 4 Charlotte (30-37) #2 Houston (42-26) vs. # 3 San Antonio (39-29) *missed the cut*: New Orleans (30-40) *takeaway* : A weaker division would allow our first sub .500 team to sneak into the field with Charlotte. Although who knows; if Anthony Davis knew making the playoffs would be that easy, perhaps hed stay in the Big Easy. **Pacific League playoffs** 1-seed Golden State (46-21) vs. #8 L.A. Clippers (39-30) # 2 Portland (41-26) vs. # 3 Utah (38-29) *missed the cut*: Sacramento (33-33), L.A. Lakers (31-36) *takeaway* : Like our Atlantic League, this one isnt much difference than a standard slice of the Western Conference. **OVERALL TAKEAWAYS** If the league drastically realigned and made 4 separate conferences instead of 2, the changes (for this season) wouldnt be wildly different. Wed only have 1 team in Charlotte that would sneak in over a better-record team in Detroit. The "Final Four" may be slightly different, albeit perhaps ending in the same result. In seeds held form, # 1 overall Milwaukee (based on record) would match up against Oklahoma City, while Golden State would battle Toronto. So while the division rivalries may be more fun under this system, the "Final Four" rivalries may feel a little odd. At the end of the day, I would still support the current rules as opposed to this 4 league proposal. While I do like the idea of 4 league "champions," theres simply too much of a chance that a great team would get burned by nature of their tough division (even more than is illustrated by this season.)