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.
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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.
The Wizards are naming Tommy Sheppard their permanent GM after he served in the role on an interim basis since April 2.
Let's take a look back at the moves which earned Sheppard the long-term GM job:
April 2: The Wizards fire GM Ernie Grunfeld. Tommy Sheppard takes over the role on an interim basis.
June 20: The Wizards select Gonzaga forward Rui Hachimura with the No. 9 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Later in the evening, Washington acquires Jonathan Simmons and the draft rights to Tennessee forward Admiral Schofield from the Philadelphia 76ers. Simmons was placed on waivers on July 7.
July 5: The Wizards acquire Moritz Wagner, Isaac Bonga, and Jemerrio Jones, and a 2022 second-round draft pick as part of the deal which sent Anthony Davis to the Lakers.
July 6: The Wizards trade Dwight Howard to the Grizzlies in exchange for C.J. Miles and acquire Davis Bertans from the Spurs in a three-team deal with Brooklyn and San Antonio, sending the draft rights of Aaron White to the Nets.
July 7: The Wizards re-sign center Thomas Bryant on a three-year deal and trade guard Tomas Satoransky to the Bulls for a 2020 second-round pick.
July 9: The Wizards sign guard Ish Smith to a two-year deal.
July 10: The Wizards sign guard Isaiah Thomas to a one-year deal.
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The Wizards are naming Tommy Sheppard their permanent GM, NBC Sports Washington's Chase Hughes has confirmed.
Sheppard had been serving as Washington's interim GM since the firing of Ernie Grunfeld on April 2. He oversaw the Wizards' 2019 NBA Draft selections of Rui Hachimura and Admiral Schofield, as well as their offseason transactions this summer.
According to Hughes, the Wizards will announce the decision next week, with more changes to follow.
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