Silver Addresses Playoff Format, Other Topics

Commissioner Adam Silver says travel concerns are the biggest obstacle to overhauling the NBA’s playoff format, relays Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post. Silver addressed the topic in his annual All-Star Weekend news conference, saying the league office has studied the possibility of eliminating East and West designations and throwing all the playoff teams into one 16-team field.

“I think, as I’ve said in the past, the obstacle is travel, and it’s not tradition in my mind, at least,” Silver explained. “Having said that, you also would like to have a format where your two best teams are ultimately going to meet in The Finals, and obviously, if it’s the top team in the East and top team in the West, I’m not saying this is the case this year, but you could have a situation where the top two teams in the league are meeting in the conference finals or somewhere else.”

It’s not a change Silver could make on his own, as any significant alterations to the playoff format have to be approved by at least 20 franchises. But it’s a topic the commissioner has addressed before, and his decision to devote so much time to it today could be a sign that it’s still being strongly considered.

Silver covered a lot of ground in today’s press conference. Here are a few other topics he addressed:

  • The NBA is waiting to hear from an NCAA-appointed commission headed by former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice regarding possible changes to the “one-and-done” rule that requires players to be at least one year past their high school graduation date before they can enter the draft. The commission’s report is expected this spring.
  • Silver called today’s meeting between representatives of the players’ and referees’ unions “a successful first step.” He addressed the participants at the meeting and said it should help to open lines of communication. “I think it’s fantastic and a great statement about this league that these important stakeholders in this case, our players and the officials, think it’s important enough and they have an obligation to the game where they should be sitting down and talking to each other,” Silver added.
  • The G League will expand to 27 teams next season, and Silver’s goal is a full 30-team league where each NBA club has a direct affiliate, adds Tim Cato of SB Nation. Silver noted that about 40 percent of players currently in the NBA have spent time in the G League.
  • If the Supreme Court legalizes sports betting later this year, the NBA will be ready. The league has taken proactive steps to prepare and is hoping to take in 1 percent of all profits off the wagering. “It’s what our view of a model bill was, but we’re happy to sit with legislators and talk about what the best system would be,” Silver said.
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12 thoughts on “Silver Addresses Playoff Format, Other Topics

  1. Kenleyfornia74

    Eliminating the conferences is a bad idea. They already fixed the issue by making the seeds based on record and not placement in the division.

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  2. Thomas Swanson

    The West has been better than the east for years. Mark Cuban has said if he was in the east , he wouldn’t be rebuilding.

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  3. Thronson5

    Would be stupid to change the playoffs like he is talking about. The best from the East and West should play shouldn’t matter if the two best teams overall are from the West. As a sports fan I’d be extremely upset to see this happen not only in the nba but if any other sport did this I wouldn’t support it.

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    • Connorsoxfan

      I’m all for getting rid of conferences. As long as they continue to schedule away games on the opposite coast together in 10 day trips with 4-5 games or so, it should work logistically to avoid frequent long distance travel, and it makes sense that the best 16 should be in the playoffs regardless of location.

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  4. Worzelmangel

    The only way changing the playoffs format would make sense would be if there was a way to make the schedule equally balanced, but because of travel that wouldn’t really be possible.

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  5. Thomas Swanson

    It’s like the college football playoffs. Use trial and error.

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  6. Getting rid of East/West and going for divisions and kind of a round robin sort of regular season schedule could work. There’s no cogent reason why the teams right down the middle of the country are in one conference or the other anyway.

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  7. Hoopsev2004

    Until there is a balanced schedule for all teams playing the same opponents the same number of times you will not have the best teams playing each other.

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  8. chiefivey

    i definitely support 1-16 format, i feel like the nba is smart enough to figure out travel and scheduling.

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  9. xabial

    Can you address tanking? The teams picking 1-6 all have 18 wins,

    7th to 8th have 19 and 20 wins.

    Projections are never 100% — But teams projected to pick #1-6 all have 18 wins Lol

    link to tankathon.com

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