Soon, winning a division will no longer mean anything in the NBA.
According to NBA commissioner Adam Silver, teams will be seeded solely based on record within their respective conferences and winning a division title will no longer impact playoff seeding. This change could go into effect as early as next season.
The issue with seeding came to light during this past year's playoffs when the Portland Trail Blazers, who won 51 games and won their division, were the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference despite winning fewer games than the Memphis Grizzlies and San Antonio Spurs. The Grizzlies and Spurs both won 55 games during the regular season but did not win their division.
"The recommendation from the Competition Committee is that we should seed one through eight based on conference standings for the playoffs," Silver said.
For the Cavs, it may not have much of a direct impact in the immediate future. With 53 wins, the Cavs would have been the No. 2 seed anyway had the East had been seeded by record. And as a whole, the East just isn't as competitive from top to bottom as the West. Heading into next year, the Cavs are the favorites in the East, and if they are to be the No. 1 seed, they'll likely need to beat the Chicago Bulls - a team they'll play four times within the division - to do so.
Still, this is a change that makes ton of sense. Seeding by record rewards the best teams for winning the most games and that's a good thing. Most importantly, it keeps bad division winners from having home court advantage in the first round.