Division races aren't the end all, be all in the NBA. Conference seeding is where it's at. However, division winners are guaranteed no less than the No. 4 seed.
According to league commissioner Adam Silver, that could change.
Speaking on Wednesday, Silver said no decision has been made, but, according to the Associated Press, "he believes it's likely that teams will qualify for the postseason only if they have one of the top eight records in their conference."
Portland received the fourth seed in the Western Conference last season for winning the Northwest Division. Based on win-loss record, the Trail Blazers would have finished sixth.
"First of all, it's never happened before that a division winner did not finish within the top eight, and our basketball analytics folks calculate that there's less than a 5 percent chance that it would happen," Silver said before taking part in a panel discussion at the "Beyond Sport United" program, the AP reported.
The commissioner continued.
"Where we are leaning right now is that we would not guarantee a spot for a division winner in part because it's so unlikely to happen, and No. 2 if it does happen it would be potentially confusing to fans. No. 3, you would be displacing a team that did have a top-eight record."
Some push for the idea of ignoring conferences and seeding playoff teams 1-16. Practically speaking, that's just not geographically viable (Imagine a Portland-Miami first round series). However, dumping a top-4 seed for any division winner is a change worth considering. Sounds like the commissioner is doing just that.