For the second straight season, the D-League allows its top three seeds to pick their first-round playoff opponent. They pick from teams seeded fifth through eighth.
I love the idea.
As I’ve said before, it puts a lot of pressure on the team picking the foe to deliver because if that team loses? Oh boy. Not good.
It gives the team chosen extra motivation, but a lot of strategy goes into making that pick. The playoffs start later this week.
Let’s look at the first three seeds:
1. Iowa (37-13) chose Utah (28-22). The Energy are 1-0 against the Flash.
2. Rio Grande Valley (34-16) chose Reno (27-22). The Vipers are 3-1 against the Bighorns.
3. Austin (32-18) chose Dakota (29-21). The Toros are 1-1 against the Wizards.
See, Austin had the third and final pick of a playoff opponent. The other option was Tulsa. Although the 66ers (27-22) are an eighth seed, they’re 4-2 against the Toros.
So Austin went with the safer pick and chose Dakota.
That left fourth-seed Sioux Falls (32-18) to take on Tulsa. For the record, the Skyforce are 2-3 against the 66ers, but have won their last two games against them.
Let the playoffs begin.