NBA Estimates 40,000 Mile increase in Travel with Playoff Format Change
If you think the NBA should switch to a top-16 team playoff format, there’s going to be a few things to really consider.
For one, the accumulation of air fare.
According to an NBA estimation, there would be an 40,000 mile increase in travel in the postseason if the League altered it’s current playoff format featuring inter-conference play through the initial three rounds. With LeBron James heading out west to join the Los Angeles Lakers, there has been a renewed call to reform the playoff format, simply because the Western Conference has become even more dominant overnight compared to the East.
“I think, as I’ve said in the past, the obstacle is travel, and it’s not tradition in my mind, at least,” Silver said at the All-Star break. “It’s that as we’ve added an extra week to the regular season, as we’ve tried to reduce the number of back-to-backs, that we are concerned about teams crisscrossing the country in the first round, for example. We are just concerned about the overall travel that we would have in the top 16 teams.”
The NBA stated that the league averages about 90,000 miles of total travel in the post-season, a number which would go up to approximately 130,000 miles with a format change.
“It’s still my hope that we’re going to figure out ways,” Silver said. “Maybe ultimately you have to add even more days to the season to spread it out a little bit more to deal with the travel. Maybe air travel will get better. All things we’ll keep looking at.”
As the power continues to shift to the Western Conference, the NBA will continue to be pressured to find a way to make a top-16 format work.