A preview of tonight's Suns game against the Spurs, who will sit Tony Parker and Tim Duncan with only nine Suns healthy.

      
 
 

Phoenix Suns rookie guard Devin Booker looks worthy of a "Rising Stars" selections for more than his 32-point game.

      
 
 

In sports, we like to believe the cream rises to the top and that titles are held by the best team out there. Well, we know that isn't true. Regardless, I was looking around at title teams in the NBA, MLB, and NHL and was curious how good they were. (The NFL was dropped because I didn't care that much and they only play sixteen games in their regular season.)

Obvious note - this is just a fun look at some numbers. It's not a conclusive study as the sample size on all of this isn't even enough to merit that. 

NBA

In 2007 the NBA adopted their current playoff rules - the better record gets home court and best of seven series in all round. Since then, here's a breakdown of the rank of the team that won the title and the rank of the sad team that came in second that people will inexplicably call a failure.

Season Champ League Rank Runner-Up League Rank
2006-2007 3 7
2007-2008 1 3*
2008-2009 2* 4
2009-2010 3* 9
2010-2011 4 3
2011-2012 4 3
2012-2013 1 3
2013-2014 1 6
2014-2015 1 7

* denotes where this was the best possible team from the given conference.

A simple note, the NBA title has gone to a top four team every year since this format. The runner-up gets a little more leeway dropping as low as ninth. Also, the most likely seed to end up in the runner-up spot has been 3rd, so as of now the Thunder should watch out.

MLB

In 2011-2012 MLB adopted their most recent playoff rules. A one game wildcard game for two teams, a best of five division series, followed by two best of seven rounds. Here's how the champ and runner-up have looked.

Season Champ League Rank Runner-Up League Rank
2012 6 11
2013 1* 1*
2014 10 7
2015 4 7

* denotes a tie in records.

In a mere four years, baseball has already produced two title teams out of the top five and a runner-up out of the top ten. Apparently lucky number seven is your best bet to be runner-up too. It is worth noting that unlike the NBA MLB has gotten a title out of the best two teams in the league once already, though.

NHL

I won't lie; I wasn't going to do hockey until I saw they had recently changed their playoff rules meaning I only had to look up two seasons. In 2013-2014, the NHL realigned into four divisions with the top three teams from each division advancing to the playoffs and the last two spots in each conference behind wildcard spots. How's that turned out?

Season Champ League Rank Runner-Up League Rank
2013-2014 10 12
2014-2015 5 7

I stress small sample size, but wow! The first year this resulted in a 10th ranked Kings beating a 12th ranked Rangers! In the second year, it got a little closer to normal, but no team from the top four made the finals. We'll see what this year holds in store.


The playoffs have a lot of noise, and weird stuff happens. Still, it is fun to compare the different sports and notice the differences. This year in the NBA we can probably expect a top four team to win it all against a team in the top ten. In baseball, we may see some good teams, we may not. And who the heck even knows in hockey? Seeya next time.

It has been a well-documented frustrating season for Suns forward Markieff Morris. If you wanted to summarize Morris' 2015-16 campaign, his first-quarter dunk attempt against the Pacers would be a good place to start. 

      
 
 

Three weeks after knee surgery, Eric Bledsoe made his way onto his home court with an unfamiliar feeling.

      
 
 

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