The change the NBA made to its playoff format 15 years ago has made virtually no difference

Cork Gaines

Prior to the 2002-03 season, the NBA changed the format of the playoffs, with the first round switching from a best-of-five format to a best-of-seven series. The result has been that almost nothing has changed, especially for the best teams.

In the 14 years since the change, 1-seeds are 25-3 and 2-seeds are 27-1 in the first round. In the 14 years prior to the change, using the best-of-five format, 1-seeds were 26-2 and 2-seeds were 25-3.

The lack of change is even more obvious if we look at the top seeds as a whole. Ignoring 4-seeds, where their matchups with 5-seeds are often a toss-up, Seeds 1-3 are 73-11 in the first round under the best-of-seven format. In the 14 years before the change, Seeds 1-3 were an identical 73-11.

Sports CoD 4 17 17 (1)

Diana Yukari/Business Insider

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