Rockets Jeff Van Gundy/Kevin McHale wary of playoff formats

Jeff Van Gundy (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Jeff Van Gundy (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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Houston Rockets
TNT on NBA commentator Kevin McHale (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /

Kevin McHale not a fan of shortened format

When NBA commissioner Adam Silver first announced that the league was suspending it’s operations, reports were floating around regarding what was going to happen next. It seemed like we were hearing conflicting reports on a daily basis, which made it clear that no one knew what was going to be the final outcome.

One of the speculative reports that surfaced was that the league was considering a shortened version of the playoffs, particularly in the earlier rounds. This seemed to have credence because we didn’t know the exact timetable that Silver was operating under.

It seemed only natural that to make up for lost time, we were going to see some sort of abbreviated version of the playoffs. The league hasn’t officially made a decision on what format will be adopted, but former Houston Rockets coach Kevin McHale made it clear that he’s not a fan of the shortened format in the slightest.

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McHale was speaking on Houston’s ESPN 97.5 The Game and stated his case on the idea:

“I just hope they don’t do the b.s. two-out-of-three. Because one thing that happens in a best-of-seven, the best team wins 95 percent of the time.

Because you can have a game or two where you shoot like crap but to win four games out of seven, the best team normally wins. Disregarding injuries or something catastrophic happening in the middle of the series.”

The latter part is important to note, as it’s entirely possible that “something catastrophic will happen in the middle of the series” considering the existing threat of the novel coronavirus. What we’ve heard is that if a player tests positive then they’ll be quarantined for 14 days before being able to rejoin the team.

But buy-and-large McHale is correct in that in order for a team to win four games out of seven, they’re generally the better team. It’s much different than the NFL or NCAA, which both have a do-or-die single elimination game format.

The Rockets are a team that would seem to benefit from a shortened format considering their style of play, as they fling 3-pointers at an unprecedented rate, meaning they would only need to get hot for a few games to advance to the next round, which is why McHale is against the idea.

What we’ve heard of late is that the league office sent a survey to the general managers, asking them to state which formats they prefer, but that each option included seven game playoff series’. So in that case it seems McHale will get his wish.

Next: JVG shares his two cents