Why the NHL Postseason Crushes the NBA Playoffs
With the NHL and NBA playoffs beginning next week, here’s a look at how they compare:
SCHEDULING: The pace of the series schedule is pretty consistent with the pace of the games: hockey is faster than basketball. Hockey pretty much plays every other day (with occasional days off thrown in for television purposes). Basketball series, meanwhile, usually take longer to complete (although it’s getting better lately). Plus, for some reason, every NBA playoff game is nationally televised, so that puts a limit on the number of games that can take place in one night. Yes, it would be great to see every NHL playoff game, but it’s worth the sacrifice to keep the current structure.
SEEDING: In hockey, the division champions get the top three seeds in the each conference, and the other five teams are seeded according to their standings points in descending order. The league added a great tiebreaker this year that gives more weight to non-shootout wins. In the NBA, a non-division champ can hold home court over a division winner if they have a better record, which is ridiculous. It pretty much takes away any reason to win your division.
END OF SERIES RITUALS: After every NHL playoff series, every member of both teams (including coaches) line up at center ice and shake hands and/or hug. It’s the best show of sportsmanship in sports and will never be surpassed. The NBA has nothing. Some players will greet some other players but there are no requirements.