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Public Service Announcement: Raptors no longer guaranteed top four spot in conference

The NBA's finally done it: no more preferential treatment for division winners.

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Many knew this day would come soon, what with all the talk of playoff structure reform, divisional re-thinks, and lottery re-jigging. Change to the NBA has long felt inevitable--and now, finally, it is here.

It's been officially announced that all playoff teams will now be seeded 1 to 8 regardless of their divisional standing. The first tiebreaker will be decided based on head-to-head record first and then division title consideration. This puts all of a playoff team's hopes completely on its regular season record and devalues the prestige of the division banner. That's right--prestige!

What this means for the Raptors, three-time Atlantic division champs, is painfully obvious. Given the disastrous legacy of the Atlantic (a.k.a the Titanic) these past couple of years (and really, on balance, for some time longer than that), the Raptors have been able to periodically stay competitive in the Eastern conference. Now though, with this change, those easy wins against hapless Sixers and Knicks teams, will mean even less. Yes, this is a thing that is possible. Without the lure of an Atlantic Division title, what, really, is the point?

I can't believe I'm saying this but, the Bon Jovi banner in the ACC may now be more of an achievement than those Atlantic titles. Think about that.

Now, if only we had some way to capture the emotion of this moment...

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