NBA commissioner Adam Silver appears reluctant to radically revamp the NBA playoff system, but gave signs on Thursday that he may be up for modifying it to some extent.
Giving a traditional annual speech before the first game of the NBA Finals, the commissioner acknowledged his focus on the divisional seeding process.
Some NBA enthusiasts call for taking the top 16 teams, regardless of conference, and seeding them appropriately. Sports Illustrated reported that Silver considers this option clumsy because it would warrant that teams endure excessive, cross-country travel requirements.
“While [the 1 through 16 proposal] seems attractive in many ways, because of the additional travel that will result, it just doesn’t seem like a good idea at the moment,” Silver remarked. “For example, this [Warriors] team would have played Boston in the first round under a 1 through 16 seeding and would have had to crisscross back and forth across the country, which does not seem like a good idea, especially based on the earlier question based on the health of our players, and focusing on actually reducing the amount of travel and back-to-back [games].”
However, Silver plans on giving strong consideration to converting to a 1 through 8 conference seeding from the current system rewarding the divisional winners the higher seed.
“We may change that fairly quickly,” he said.
Silver also stated in his address that he wants to hold off on draft lottery reform for at least one more season because of the 2016-2017 jump in team salary caps from $67 million to $90 million.
“It’s a massive amount of capital that’s going to come in from one year to the next. Something that’s never happened before in the history of this league,” he stated. “That’s one issue where I feel that even though I think a change in the draft lottery is needed, we should wait and then take a look at it wholistically when we see how the whole system will operate under much higher caps.”
The commissioner added that he was not in favor of changing game rules involving excessive fouling known as “Hack-a-Shaq.” The defensive strategy deployed by some teams, forces opposing players, deficient in foul shooting skills, to the free-throw line.
“In fact, 90 percent of the occurrences of Hack-a-Shaq involve the Rockets and the Clippers, and for the most part, it’s two players,” Silver said. “Seventy-five percent involve two players, DeAndre Jordan and Dwight Howard. So then the question becomes, should we be making that rule change largely for two teams and two players?”