As in any (fair) sporting competitions, postseasons are devised so that the better teams have an easier run to the championship, so in the end, the best teams are competiting for the title.
This is true in college basketball, the FIFA World Cup, and America's four major sports, including the NBA for the matter. A team's seeding usually indicates their level of talent and their success in the regular season, so more often than not -- even if there are upsets occasionally, which only make things more exciting -- the better team will win outright.
This is especially true in the NBA, as believe it or not, over the course of its 71-year history, number one seeds have won 52 of the 71 NBA Finals held. Pretty good odds right? When you include number two seeds as well, it goes up to 62 out of 71. In fact, As Reddit user The_69ers has pointed out, only two teams have ever won the NBA championship from a position lower than third in their conference.
"The No. 4 seed to win it all was the 1969 Boston Celtics, led by aging Bill Russell. For the first time in his career, as age and injury were wearing him down, Russell averaged less than 10 points per game during the regular season. After 13 years finishing first or second in the East, the Celtics ended 1969 in fourth place, snagging the final playoff spot.
John Havlicek, Sam Jones, Em Bryant and others helped Bill to his 11th ring. That made the Boston Celtics the lowest seed to win a title…until 1995.
The 1995 Houston Rockets won it all as a No. 6 seed. Can a reigning champion be considered a Cinderella?
If it drops from first to third in its division, wins 20 percent fewer games, finishes 15 games behind and takes the No. 6 seed, maybe.
Either way, the 1994-95 Houston Rockets, led by champions Hakeem Olajuwon, Vernon Maxwell, Kenny Smith, Sam Cassell and midseason transplant Clyde Drexler, are the lowest seed to win an NBA title.
This wasn’t a bad team by any means. The Rockets finished 47-35. But the West also had the 60-22 Utah Jazz, the 59-23 Phoenix Suns and the 62-20 San Antonio Spurs—the top three seeds.
The 95' Rockets eventually swept Shaq & Penny Hardaway of the Magic, ending with a 4-0 record in the finals."
This year could prove to be another historic one however, as even though three major title contenders in the form of Golden State, Houston and Toronto all finished either first or second in their conference, the Cleveland Cavaliers, who are never out of the conversation with LeBron on their roster, finished fourth in the East this year.