The Drive with Jody Oehler

The Drive with Jody Oehler

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How to Fix the NBA Playoffs

Last night, the NBA Easter Conference Finals were so boring, so bad that it drove me into the arms of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.

There, instead of the slog of the Heat/Celtics, I found the energy, urgency and passion of the Avalanche and Blues.

Instead of watching the Heat miss 64(!) field goal attempts and shoot 7 for 45 from 3 point land, I watched two highly skilled teams battling it out with their playoff lives at stake.

Instead of random nights off from Celtics and Heat players too banged up to make it through the playoffs, I watched the gladiatorial fight of NHL players leaving it all on the ice every night.

This should not happen.

The Conference Finals in the NBA should be iron sharpening iron not wet blankets covering wet blankets.

How did we get here in the NBA and how do we never come back?

Maybe its just bad luck, a fluke occurrence of competitive flaccidity. Maybe we'll get an epic NBA Finals and the Conference Finals will be a distant memory, thankfully.

Or maybe Larry Bird should beg the NBA to delay his name from appearing on the Conference Finals MVP until next year when it won't be quite as embarrassing.

So back to the question, how do we fix this if it's a real problem?

There's a simple solution but the NBA isn't going to like it.

When in doubt, just look to the NFL and all answers can be found.

The magic of the NFL isn't necessarily found in its carnal violence or annual parity - its found in the constant state of urgency almost every NFL game is played with.

The NBA should adopt a less is more approach to their postseason.

I'm old enough to remember when the NBA playoffs started with a best of five series. Instead of having load management of the NBA stars that are supposed to define the playoffs, maybe we should load manage the number of playoff games we are expecting them to play.

I don't want to sound like a dad from the 50's but if the current generation of players aren't sturdy enough to withstand two straight months of playoff basketball as this postseason seemed to indicate, maybe we reduce the number of playoff games.

It might lead to more upsets, which the NBA doesn't want, but more drama and more narratives isn't going to cost the NBA what it might have in the post Jordan days.

By reducing the wear and tear expected in the playoffs, the NBA is much more likely to get the product they want in the playoffs. I know TV contracts and sponsorship opportunities make this virtually impossible to pull off but if Adam Silver really wants to be innovative, a mid season tournament isn't the answer.

A Less is more approach would be.

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