If the Detroit Pistons face the Portland Trail Blazers in the NBA Finals, they will own the homecourt advantage - whether they deserve it or not.
A strong argument can be made that the Pistons don't deserve to have four games scheduled in the safety and comfort of Auburn Hills in this best-of-seven series. Both teams finished the regular season with a 59-23 record. They split their regular season series, 1-1.Detroit earns the homecourt edge, however, because of the league's flawed tiebreaker system.
The Pistons were 40-14 (.740) against the Eastern Conference. The Trail Blazers were 41-15 (.732) against the West. That tiebreaker - winning percentage within conference - is the reason the series would open in Detroit Tuesday night.
Using that tiebreaker to determine the homecourt advantage in each conference is fine. But it shouldn't apply to the NBA Finals.
The league pits the best in the West against the best in the East for the NBA title. Under that system, shouldn't the record of each team against the OTHER conference be the tiebreaker? That is more consistent with the playoff format.
Portland would have the edge if that criteria was used to determine the homecourt. The Trail Blazers were 18-8 (.692) against the Eastern Conference this season. The Pistons, meanwhile, went 19-9 (.678) against the Western Conference.
The homecourt advantage is crucial in the playoffs. The home team is 52-14 in the playoffs this season and has won 10 of the 13 series. The team with the homecourt advantage has won eight of the last 10 NBA titles.
That's why the tiebreaker to determine the homecourt advantage should be as precise and fair as possible. If this series goes seven, and the Trail Blazers lose the final game on Detroit's court, they will have every right to complain about the system.