Ch-ch-change may be coming to the NBA Finals. According to The Boston Herald, the NBA Competition Committee unanimously agreed
with fans that the current Finals format wasn't the brightest idea and will reportedly change back to the 2-2-1-1-1 format for the 2014 Finals.
The 2-3-2 format came about in 1985 when then-coach of the Boston Celtics, Red Auerbach, told current (and almost retired) NBA Commissioner David stern that the 2-2-1-1-1 format didn't work for his team because of the exhaustive coast-to-coast trip the team had to take to play the Los Angeles Lakers. Stern agreed, and the format has been in place ever since, even as private air travel for teams has become become the norm.
The decision to change the format back is probably one of the smartest decisions the NBA Competition Committee could have come up with for a variety of reasons. The Associated Press stated the competitive angle succinctly:
Proponents of the change have believed the current 2-3-2 format dulls some of the homecourt advantage to the higher seed. The Miami Heat won Games 6 and 7 at home to claim the Finals in June, but they were just the fourth team in 29 years to accomplish that feat.
Also, with the lower seed getting Game 6 on its home floor, it increases the likelihood that a series will go to seven games, which is traditionally in the business interests of the league and its television partners.
For the Oklahoma City Thunder, in the 2012 Finals they had home court advantage against the Miami Heat. However, after dropping game 2 on their home court, OKC faced the possibility of never seeing their home court again. Miami swept their 3 home games and took the championship series in 5 games.
With the change now resting in the owners hands, hopefully they will make the correct decision and agree to change the format to the more popular format that dictates the first 3 rounds. The first round, Conference Semifinals and Conference Finals have the 2-2-1-1-1 format already in place and it seems to work out just fine for those rounds with no apparent signs of fatigue affecting the competitive balance.