As far back as I can remember, the Western Conference has been the stronger conference in the NBA. Twelve of the past twenty NBA Championships have headed west(5 LAL,4 SAS,2 HOU,1 DAL). The Eastern Conference is severely top heavy and has been for awhile. Terrible teams have made it into the playoffs the past few seasons in the East. This years' terrible squad is non other than Southern California native Brandon Jennings' Milwaukee Bucks who got in with a record of 38-44(6 games below .500).
So, this begs the question. Just how do you fix this? Can the NBA just allow the top sixteen records to compete? Now, while the top 16 records would make the most sense, it isn't in anyone's best interest to have teams playing across country in the first round. But, what if it was feasible to adjust accordingly to allow for the best teams to compete, while avoiding logistical nightmares.
Essentially stays the same sans adopting a slight variation from the college game. While the East and West would still be the overlying conference, there would be sub-categories(divisions) or regions if you will. There will be four in total:
Pacific (note: team placement doesn't follow strict timezone mapping)
Each region has two series, four teams total. The teams will play in first round match-ups of. 1-4, 2-3. The league's overall best record will have home court throughout the playoffs. To show this works, I will use the teams from this years' playoffs:
1. New York
1. Oklahoma City
2. LA Clippers
4. Utah( would replace Milwaukee due to record)
1. San Antonio
3. Golden State
4. LA Lakers
To clarify the seeding, the only major change is the inclusion of Utah over Milwaukee due to record. The seeding will follow the current sets of rules in place now. As of now, OKC, SAS, DEN, & LAC are the top 4 teams in the west. In these regions, the two best records are OKC & SAS(who received 1 seeds), DEN has the third best overall record so they are placed in the region with San Antonio, while LAC has the fourth best overall record and places them in the bracket with the best in the Western Conference( essentially equal to 3-4 seeds).
It is still set up so the best teams will only meet later in the playoffs, as it is now. Miami would play NY for the East while OKC would play SA for the West