There is a curveball being thrown at the WNBA Playoffs. There is a new format and WNBA players see the change quite differently. The WNBA Playoffs will now have two single-elimination rounds to open its eight-team tournament.
Matt Ellentuck of SBNation points out that this would add more pressure right from the start. This will make the postseason less predictable than ever. The two best teams though, which are now the Minnesota Lynx and the Los Angeles Sparks, will receive double byes. They will then play the two winners of the early rounds in a best-of-five semifinal series.
The third and fourth best teams which are now New York Liberty and Chicago Sky will have a single bye and will compete against the winners of the bottom four seeds in the single elimination contests.
There is also a new WNBA Playoff qualification rule. It is not the top four from each conference that will get to participate but the top eight teams with the best winning percentages. This is something pretty unheard of, putting some spice into the mix.
Ellentuck stated that these changes add more excitement in the WNBA Playoff. This hopefully will get a good payoff in fan interest. The WNBA seems to think that jacking the stakes higher from the get-go will add to the excitement. This though is not amicable to some players.
Is there a fairness issue?
Chicago Sky?s Elena Delle Donne was quoted to have said that ?It is what it is at this point.? She adds that no players would want to play an entire season well just to get booted out because of a loss in a single-elimination game.
In the old format, as pointed by Ellentuck, the Chicago Sky would have home court advantage for a best-of-3 series against Indiana Fever but because of the changes, nobody knows who they will face. They are also in danger of being eliminated.
Tamika Catchings of the Indiana Fever points out though that whatever the format, every single game still counts. This mindset is crucial if one wants to go far in the WNBA Playoffs to win the Finals.
Do you agree with the new WNBA Playoffs format? Leave your thoughts below.
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