What if NBA teams could pick their 1st-round playoff opponent?

We’re back! Been a lil’ while, but we’ll be back and running with these regularly here on out.

A few years back, the NBA D-League — nay, G-League — experimented with a fun new playoff format. Instead of having the top seed automatically play the No. 8 seed, No. 2 vs. No. 7, and so on, the top seed was able to choose their first-round opponent from any of the four teams seeded Nos. 5-8. The second-place team got to choose next, and so on.

(Sadly, we later discovered they have done away with this format for this year. Too bad).

We think that’s an awesome concept that’d really spice up the NBA Playoffs. Imagine the extra motivation the lower-seeded team would have if they knew the higher-seeded team picked them as their opponent! It’s also especially interesting this year because there’s not much separating seeds Nos. 4-8 in either conference.

So, we decided to run through the experiment. Friend of the pod Michael Pina of VICE Sports joins the show and all three of us unveil who we’d pick if we ran each of the top three seeds.

The ground rules:

  • For the purposes of this exercise, the top three seeds in each conference are Raptors-Celtics-Cavaliers in the East and Rockets-Warriors-Blazers in the West. We realize the Sixers might leapfrog Cleveland for the No. 3 seed in the end, but it was more fun imagining who LeBron James’ team would want than tossing Cleveland into the underdogs pool.
  • The teams those three can pick from are the Sixers-Pacers-Wizards-Bucks-Heat in the East and the Thunder-Pelicans-Spurs-Timberwolves-Jazz in the West.
  • All three of us presented our pick if we were the Raptors, then the Celtics, and so on, repeating the process in the West. We each made our own picks to not influence each other.

Here are the matchups we came up with:


EPSTEIN: Raptors vs. Bucks; Celtics vs. Heat; Cavaliers vs. Pacers; 76ers vs. Wizards
PRADA: Raptors vs. Heat; Celtics vs. Bucks; Cavaliers vs. Pacers; 76ers vs. Wizards
PINA: Raptors vs. Pacers; Celtics vs. Heat; Cavaliers vs. Wizards; 76ers vs. Bucks


EPSTEIN: Rockets vs. Pelicans; Warriors vs. Spurs; Blazers vs. Jazz; Thunder vs. Wolves
PRADA: Rockets vs. Wolves; Warriors vs. Spurs; Blazers vs. Thunder; Pelicans vs. Jazz.
PINA: Rockets vs. Wolves; Warriors vs. Pelicans; Blazers vs. Jazz; Thunder vs. Spurs

Powerd by : NBA Live Stream

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