The WNBA post-season will feature the teams with the best eight records in the league, regardless of conference, and will be seeded 1-8 based entirely on record.
This is a switch from the previous format, in which the top 4 teams in each conference made the playoffs, which were intra-conference until the Finals.
The playoff format will also change, with the top two teams getting double-byes into the semifinals, and the 3rd and 4th seeded teams getting byes to the 2nd round.
The first and second rounds will be single eliminations, with 5 hosting 8 and 6 hosting 7 in round one, after which the teams are re-seeded and 3 will host the lowest remaining seed and 4 hosting the other team left.
The semis will feature yet another re-seed, with the top team facing the weakest remaining team and the 2nd best team hosting the remaining team in best of five series' that will be formatted H-H-A-A-H.
The Finals will remain a best of five with a 2-2-1 format.
There are also changes to the regular season schedule, which will be more balanced. Teams will play 18 games against their six non-conference opponents (three games against each, with home court determined randomly and rotated), and 16 games against their five conference opponents (4 games against one opponent, 3 against the other four opponents).
Formerly, teams played 12 games (home and away) against each non-conference opponent and 22 against their five conference opponents.
Obviously we will have to wait to see how this plays out, but it should result in the best teams getting to the deeper rounds of the playoffs more consistently, as well as eliminating teams with poor records from the post-season just because they happen to be in a weak conference.
It also spreads out the appearances of the popular teams and stars; Elena Delle Donne, for example, would play in Minneapolis twice every other year (and once in the other years) instead of only once a season. Of course the opposite is also true: We'll see less of Diana Taurasi and other Western Conference stars than we used to.
It's possible and even likely that the NBA is using the WNBA as an incubator to test out some ideas that they might consider adopting; certainly eliminating the conferences when it comes to playoff seeding has been something of a discussion point in recent years.
We'll see what it looks like come this summer when the Lynx pursue yet another WNBA title.