The NBA is considering having a World Cup-style group stage in order to replace the first round of the playoffs, per Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer.
The proposed format would include all 16 teams that are qualified to make the playoffs along with the next four best records, namely the Portland Trail Blazers, the New Orleans Pelicans, the Sacramento Kings and the San Antonio Spurs.
Per O’Connor, the 20 participating teams would be allocated into five tiers based on their win-loss record.
- Tier 1: Bucks, Lakers, Raptors, Clippers
- Tier 2: Celtics, Nuggets, Jazz, Heat
- Tier 3: Thunder, Rockets, Pacers, Sixers
- Tier 4: Mavericks, Grizzlies, Nets, Magic
- Tier 5: Blazers, Pelicans, Kings, Spurs