Seeding in the Western Conference. Should this even be a discussion? For the first six teams that gain playoff births, I think it’s going to be a fairly close finish between each team. Here’s the thing: The top teams are all so good that home court advantage may not even matter at all. For example, last year in the 2013 Playoffs, the Warriors defeated the best home team in the NBA, the Denver Nuggets, on their home floor. Not only that, but they also defeated the San Antonio Spurs in Game 2. They hadn’t won in San Antonio for a good 30 games.
Seeding may not even be of discussion in the 2014 NBA playoffs. Why? Well the Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers, Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs, Memphis Grizzlies, Denver Nuggets, and Houston Rockets are all great teams that are likely to finish close to each other by record. If this is true, then what can the home crowd do to prevent a loss.
Each of these teams is vulnerable at home, proving that the home crowd can be taken out of the equation. Just because a team is playing at home doesn’t mean that they’re going to win. Many analysts thought the Warriors would beat the Spurs in a best-of-seven series after tying the series 1-1 after the first two road games. Unfortunately for the Warriors, however, San Antonio claimed two victories in Oakland and won the series to move on.
The Thunder were playing without one of their best players in Russell Westbrook. Still, they had one of the best crowds in the playoffs. They lost to the Grizzlies 4-1 after winning their first game. The Clippers, after establishing a solid 2-0 series lead to the Grizzlies lost 4-2. Anything can happen in the playoffs, and this year, a lower seeded team won’t and shouldn’t be excited about splitting the series 1-1 after the first two games. It’s annoying yes, but it’s true.
The Western Conference continues to get better and better and they’re all terrific road teams. If it lines up in such a way, it’ll be interesting to see which teams face each other in the playoffs, and what the outcomes are going to be. Again, seeding may not even matter. These are some of the best teams in the NBA in the Western Conference, and even if the reigning champions Miami Heat are in the Eastern Conference, it really doesn’t matter.
As far as I’m concerned, any of the top six teams will have great shots at making a championship run. It may seem ridiculous to say that the top 6 could potentially be equal in skill, but when you think about it, it actually makes sense. The Thunder lack a bench scorer, the Warriors lack experience, the Clippers lack playoff experience, the Nuggets are banged up, the Rockets may not have great chemistry, the Grizzlies don’t have a huge offensive threat, and the Spurs are getting old.
Yes, I know that last one is used all the time, but it’s true. All of these teams have unique weaknesses, but unique strengths as well. As far as I’m concerned, finishing 6th will be as good as finishing 3rd because a team will be playing the same opponent that they would have. It’s an interesting thought, yes, but I think that the teams are good enough to finish that closely together.