The WNBA regular season end is right around the corner, which means the playoffs aren’t too far behind. Eight of the league’s 12 teams will participate in the postseason, which prompted the Full Court Sound Off to discuss whether or not the WNBA playoff format needs an update.
Does the WNBA Playoff Format Need an Update?
Currently, the Washington Mystics hold the No. 8 spot with a 12-18 record, with the Los Angeles Sparks and New York Liberty nipping at their heels at 11-19. The Dallas Wings have already clinched their spot in the WNBA playoffs with a current 13-18 mark.
You’re bound to have some deeply below-.500 sides play in the WNBA playoffs with a format that allows 66.6 percent of the league to qualify.
Justin, who returns to the podcast this week after a brief hiatus, and Solomon both agree that accepting that many of a league’s teams into the playoffs is a bit much, but what’s the solution?
One that Justin proposes for all North American pro sports, based around the European domestic soccer league model, is to eliminate the playoffs entirely and have every team play against each other an equal amount of times, home and away, to force teams to battle in a season-long war of attrition. Can you tell he likes the footy?
There are some merits for the WNBA playoff format, though, with the single-elimination aspect of it adding a lot of intrigue and excitement at the start, plus a genuinely large reward of a double bye and avoidance of those single-elimination rounds for the top two teams from the regular season. Plus, the WNBA makes its playoff format with much different goals in mind than we have. But as the WNBA inevitably grows, the transformation of its playoff format will be something to watch.
Conference Realignment, Becky Hammon & More
The Full Court Sound Off also discussed conference realignment and its affect on college basketball, the Las Vegas Aces retiring Becky Hammon’s jersey with a sidebar about her likely future as an NBA head coach, and the G-League placing a team in Mexico City for the first Latin American squad in the league, though it will begin playing in the United States for the 2021-22 campaign because of COVID-19 travel restrictions.