In an interview at the NBA All-Star festivities in Los Angeles this weekend, NBA commissioner Adam Silver hinted at potentially changing the league’s playoff system.

National Basketball Association commissioner Adam Silver speaks to the media during All-Star basketball game festivities, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

“ would like to have a format where your two best teams are ultimately going to meet in the Finals,” Silver said. “You could have a situation where the top two teams in the league are meeting in the Conference finals. We’re going to continue to look at that.”

In recent years, the league’s top two teams have typically met in the Western Conference Finals, prompting many to declare that the winner of that series would win the title. The Eastern Conference has taken a backseat to the Western since the Chicago Bulls dynasty dissolved with the exodus of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen after the 1998 season. The San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Lakers and now Golden State Warriors have combined to win 12 titles since 1999.

Does Silver’s suggestion make sense? Perry Green and Stephen D. Riley of the AFRO Sports Desk debate.

Riley: The sooner Silver can get this approved, the better it would be for the NBA. The West is loaded and has been that way for over a decade now. If not for LeBron James, we might be talking about at least one more ring for the Warriors or the Spurs. Considering James is winding down his career, his potential departure from the East could collapse the conference. Neither Washington, Boston, Toronto nor Milwaukee are equipped to beat the Warriors in a seven-game series, given the way those teams are constructed. Even James and the rest of the Cleveland roster might not be ready for another round of the Warriors after last year’s Finals thrashing. Golden State has staying power, as does the rest of the West. Silver could be onto something.

Green: The classic East vs. West clashes are what the NBA has thrived on for the past few decades. Series such as Boston vs. Los Angeles and even Cleveland vs. Golden State have poured in millions in revenue and captured fans across the country. Grouping conferences and divisions and reshuffling the playoff pool could jeopardize those memorable matches. Silver wants to make the playoffs more competitive, but the NBA has always been short on parity. Once one dominant franchise emerges and the contracts line up, then that franchise will typically run off numerous titles. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.

Riley: It’s not the 1980s anymore—who cares about the East vs. West tradition? Los Angeles/Boston was the ultimate clash of coasts. But aside from a brief return when Kobe Bryant faced the “Big Three” in Boston, that series has fallen a long way since the days of Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. Fans want to see the two best teams go at it for all the marbles and they’ve been deprived of that over the past few seasons. Watching LeBron run through the Eastern playoffs, sweeping the likes of so-so teams such as Atlanta, Toronto and Washington, just isn’t fun. The Western Conference has traditionally been a tough postseason gauntlet. If we can take some of those teams and sprinkle them across the overall playoff pot, that makes for a much better picture then the one we’ve been looking at.

Green: Even Golden State and the stronger San Antonio Spurs teams of seasons past swept through the West with relative ease on their way to the Finals. The 2000 Lakers didn’t lose their first playoff game until Game One of the Finals against Allen Iverson and the Philadelphia 76ers. It’s won’t matter if they reshuffle the playoff pool if there are still a few dominant teams running through everybody. Silver can tinker all he wants, but if this is just about Golden State then he’s wasting his time. If this was about the Lakers 18 years ago, he would have been wasting his time then, too. If there’s a dynasty in the making, all of this is much ado about nothing. Keep it simple, Silver.

Perry Green and Stephen D. Riley

AFRO Sports Desk