The NBA is often filled with surprises. Things can unexpectedly take a U-turn at any point in the season, especially during the playoffs. Teams get highly competitive during this time, and players bring their best selves onto the court. The NBA Playoffs have also had a few rare events take place, such as the chances of teams bouncing back after a 3-1 deficit in a series. Or even the lowest-ranked team beating the highest-ranked team in the division.
The league used to always allow the top eight teams from each conference to participate directly in the playoffs. However, in 2020, the play-in tournament was introduced, allowing the 9th and 10th to have an equal shot at redemption. Certain teams have abused this unique addition following the regular season as well.
If the Miami Heat win it all, Jimmy Butler will have arguably the most valuable ring of all time:
– Play-in team
– 8th seed
– would have to go through the #1 and #2 seed teams with the best 2 records in the NBA
– 7 undrafted players
– Tyler Herro and Victor Oladipo injured pic.twitter.com/MbGK27jJuo
— JAY® (@JayLGK) May 20, 2023
However, the No.8 seed rarely makes it past the first or even the second round. Historically, out of the hundreds of playoff series that have taken place, the 8th seed has only been able to beat the 1st seed five times.
The latest upset occurred during the 2023 playoffs when the Miami Heat (8) defeated the Milwaukee Bucks (1) in round one. Such events are very upsetting because every 1st seed normally sets the bar high which in a way gives fans false hope of a title.
A No.8 seed has never won the NBA Championship
Even if the eighth seeds defeat the top seeds, they don’t go very far into the playoffs. It is usually the other top-ranked teams in the division that dominate the weaker No.8 seed. But surprisingly the lower-ranked teams have had significant success in the past. It turns out that the 1998-1999 eighth-seeded New York Knicks team managed to reach the NBA Finals.
Unfortunately, despite their incredible emergence that year and Patrick Ewing’s efforts, they lost to the San Antonio Spurs during the 1999 NBA Finals. This was during Tim Duncan and David Robinson’s era. However, this had never happened prior or ever since. Ironically, a 7th seed has never been able to crack the code and reach the NBA Finals.
The competitive spirit during the NBA Playoffs is completely different from the regular season. For example, LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers came back to win a title after a 3-1 deficit to the Golden State Warriors in 2016. This was mainly because they had been competing against each other for the second year in a row. Things were much more manageable for James to capitalize on and the Cavaliers were determined to win the title.