Milwaukee Bucks: 1-16 playoff seeding wouldn’t change much

MEMPHIS, TN - JANUARY 26: (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
MEMPHIS, TN - JANUARY 26: (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

If the NBA playoffs are reworked into a 1-16 seeding format when the league resumes, it won’t change too much for the Milwaukee Bucks.

As we move ever closer to June, a return to NBA action is looking like an increasingly likely proposition.

It won’t be the NBA as we know it, with games set to be played without fans in a campus style environment at Walt Disney World in Orlando, but a champion will be crowned and that’s good news for the Milwaukee Bucks.

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The changes may not end there, though, as with the NBA continuing to work through its plans for returning, there’s still some questions to be answered.

First and foremost among those is the matter of how many games will be played.

If the NBA opts to lock the regular season as is, eliminating teams with nothing to play for and reducing the number of people who’d be required on-site at Walt Disney World, a direct pivot to the playoffs could be on the cards.

With no travel considerations to account for, that scenario would open the door for a re-seeded conference-less 1-16 playoff format.

This is something that ESPN’s Brian Windhorst has been discussing as a real possibility in recent days, first on Get Up, as quoted below, and later on SportsCenter:

"“One of the things I think that’s really going to come out of this is there’s a good chance this is only going to be a 16 teams playoff and, if that is the case, it opens up the possibility for something that Adam Silver has long wanted, which is to seed 1 through 16 in the postseason and go that route. There’s no excuse for travel, or anything like that. It would have to pass an owners’ vote, and that means a bunch of Eastern Conference owners would have to agree with it.”"

If that was to be the case, the Bucks would still hold on to top seeding overall, but how else would it impact them? The truth is that if the bracket was built on the current standings, not that much would change for Milwaukee.

The Bucks would still be slated for a first round series with the Orlando Magic, who will be the closest thing to a home team in this year’s playoffs. Advancing through that could then set up a second round series with the Heat, again staying on course with what could happen in the traditional format, although the Oklahoma City Thunder could have something to say about that.

The Conference Finals would hold the greatest potential for change, though, with the Dallas Mavericks and L.A. Clippers finding themselves in the Bucks’ bracket in this scenario.

The Bucks would play one of the Mavericks, Clippers, Celtics or 76ers from a brutal corner of the playoff bracket, and although they may prefer a traditional scenario where they don’t have to face the Clippers or Lakers until the Finals, the bruising nature of that segment of the draw could mean that whichever team was to emerge may be a little more vulnerable too.

Of course, it’s also possible that Boston or Philadelphia would make their way through to the Conference Finals, leaving the Bucks with an all-Eastern path to the Finals that could feature the same combination of teams they’d have come up against in a traditional format.

Also worth noting is the fact that the Lakers could end up matched up with the Brooklyn Nets in the first round on the other side of the bracket, perhaps setting up a dramatic return for both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

That scenario would also create the possibility of the Bucks getting a chance to exact their revenge over the Toronto Raptors in the Finals with the championship on the line.

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Whether such a change is realistically going to be voted in remains to be seen, but it certainly shouldn’t be a source of significant fear or dread for the Bucks either.