Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Rewarding The Right Teams

The WNBA held a teleconference today featuring all eight coaches of the playoff teams, along with ESPN on-air personalities Doris Burk and Linda Cohn.
One popular subject during my time on the call — thankfully, Mike Thibault was the first coach on, as these tend to take way too long — was the league’s playoff format. The subject deserved to be critiqued because it is a terrible system.
Having teams with better records starting on the road before returning for Games 2 and 3 of a best-of-3 series in the first two rounds in ridiculous. It’s a poor attempt to reward the stronger side and risks something the WNBA should always be fearful of: not putting its best product on display.
I understand the league can’t afford to go to five games for all three playoffs rounds — like in the finals — but if it must stick to only three games early on, give the better-seeded team home-court advantage throughout. With a relatively short schedule and more than half the league making the postseason, rewarding teams like Connecticut and Los Angeles with nothing but home games is a way to place more emphasis on the regular season.
It’s hard to think about the Sun or Sparks getting edged out on the road and then facing elimination throughout the rest of their first-round series. It just doesn’t seem fair.
Since alternating sites for each of the three games is never going to happen because of travel costs, giving one team all the home games seems like the next best option.


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