Smyth slams NBL finals plan - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Smyth slams NBL finals plan

By Adam Cooper 03/12/2002 04:24:24 PM Comments (0)

A National Basketball League plan to consider expanding the grand final series to best-of-five games has been dismissed as unnecessary and a grab for fans' money by Adelaide coach Phil Smyth.

Smyth, whose 36ers beat West Sydney in the best of three games series to clinch last season's title, said fans wouldn't want the longer series.

Brian Goorjian, coach of the competition-leading Sydney Kings, differed, describing the idea as "fantastic" and a rare occasion where more was better.

However, Goorjian opposed the NBL's suggestion that the change could be introduced this season.

The NBL announced it would approach clubs for feedback on extending the grand finals series to best-of-five, starting this season in April.

The elimination and semi-finals would remain best-of-three series.

"The NBL grand final series has proven to be a very popular part of the Australian sporting calendar, and a five-game series would enhance this even further," said NBL chief executive Peter Ali.

It would bring the NBL closer to the American NBA which plays its championship series decider over best-of-seven games.

But Smyth did not think that would work in this country.

"I don't think people in Australia want a five-game series," Smyth said.

"The three-game series is pretty good but five games is just being greedy."

He warned any changes to the season's format would be doomed without a guaranteed future television deal either with the NBL's pay TV partner Foxtel or a free-to-air network.

"There's no point unless they get TV (coverage)," he said.

"They've come up with new ideas all the time and they should be just trying to get TV rights."

Goorjian was all for the change, provided it was implemented next season, giving teams time to consider rosters with greater depth.

"We play 30 games over a long period of time and if you reach the grand final you can have teams that all of a sudden hit the wall," Goorjian said.

"I know last year (with the Titans), with the injuries we had to (Brett) Wheeler and (Chris) Anstey, a five-game series had we made it would have been diabolical."

But Goorjian said five games would be a truer test of grand finalists' depth.

"It wouldn't come down to two Americans and three superstars, it would come down to the best team," he said.

"Basketball can have a legitimate five-game series which can create an interest and it's more, when you get to that level, is better," he said.

Goorjian was all for a shake-up of the NBL's finals system.

He described the "lucky loser" element of giving the highest-placed elimination final loser a semi final berth as a "horseshit philosophy".

Other coaches including West Sydney's Gordie McLeod were ambivalent about extending the grand final series.

"It would definitely add to the series as the excitement goes on and if it goes to the five games, but if it's over in three it's like everything - what's the difference," he said.

Should the NBL make a change, competition leader Sydney could well be involved.

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