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Importance of Seed In Determining NBA Champions

Many have suggested that the NBA regular season is just a glorified and long practice for the playoffs, when it all changes and teams really try their hardest. However, evidence shows that performing well during the regular season is essential when trying to win a championship.

While other sports have usually featured high variance come playoff time, basketball has shown tremendous consistency when it comes to the top teams of the regular season. Out of the 68 NBA Finals played since 1947, here is the title distribution by regular season seeding.

    • #1 Seed: 49 (72.1%)
    • #2 Seed: 10 (14.7%)
    • #3 Seed: 7 (10.3%)
    • #4 Seed: 1 (1.5%)
    • #6 Seed: 1 (1.5%)
    • #5, 7, 8 Seeds: 0 (0.0%)

With only the '95 Houston Rockets and '69 Boston Celtics being able to win it all despite being lower than a 3-seed, it is safe to say that home-court advantage has played a huge role when it comes to defining championships, and there is no comparison to being the top dog, as 1-seeds have taken home the trophy 72.1% of the time, which jumps to 86.8% when you include 2-seeds.


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