“This” is the concept of having top-seeded teams select their first-round playoff opponents.
The idea was relayed to Combs over dinner this summer by the COO of the Austrian professional hockey league which already lets its top teams pick their first-round opponents.
The measure passed, and this year, the SPHL will allow top-seeded teams to select their first-round playoff opponents.
The practice is simple in the SPHL and it could be applied to the NBA immediately: Of the eight playoff teams, the top-seeded team gets to select its first-round opponent, the No.
2 seed gets to pick its opponent from the remaining teams in the pool, and the third team gets the last pick, leaving the fourth seed to play the only remaining team.
7 seed is a team that limped into the postseason, making them the more desirable team to play.
There would be strategy and a bit of gamesmanship to the playoff matchup selection the only time those terms have applied to the current playoff structure is when a team deliberately loses as to avoid a tough first-round matchup.
Not only would allowing top-seeded teams to pick their first-round opponents make the NBA regular season more interesting lest you slack and not have a pick it would also add much-needed life to the increasingly dull first round of the playoffs.
Combs is turning his league’s first-ever “Challenge Round” selections into a made-for-TV event: Teams will hold watch parties and he will announce the first-round matchups live, not knowing which teams were picked until he opens the announcements, a la the Oscars, the NBA Draft Lottery, or NCAA’s Selection Sunday.
And Combs is getting so much interest in his league’s new playoff system that there is talk of internationally broadcasting the selections.