Over the past several seasons a lot of fuss has been made around the NBA about the Western Conference being clearly superior to the Eastern conference. Many have even argued that it is unfair because many teams in the West have good records at the end of the season but miss the playoffs just because of the conference that they play in. This past year the NBA introduced a new format for All-Star player selection in order to make it more competitive and it worked! Despite the fact, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver says although the idea of changing the current playoff format is intriguing the league is not ready to make that change just yet.
The NBA used a new format for the All-Star game player selection this year, do you think that it is possible that a 1-16 playoff format will be used in the NBA in the near future?
“I don’t think that you will see it in the near future because each time we study it, we’re not convinced that the benefits of a 1-16 format outweigh the increased travel for the teams.” said Silver on a recent episode of the Unnecessary Roughness Podcast.
“The notion of Portland playing Miami in the first round or the Lakers playing the Celtics, until we have a significant change in the format of our schedule where we can build in more rest days or travel changes where planes get faster I don’t think it will change in the short term future. We will continue to study it, and I’m intrigued by it but we’re not ready to make the change”.
You can listen to the full interview below:
Silver also discussed the amount of injuries around the NBA this season. As with any sport, injuries happen every year in the NBA, however this year it feels like more players are getting injured more often than they have in previous seasons. That may be because several household names around the NBA have suffered lengthy injuries this season.
DeMarcus Cousins, Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward suffered season-ending injuries while Steph Curry and Joel Embiid will miss at least the first round of the playoffs. At one point all four Warriors all-stars were injured at once.
There has been talk over the past few years that because the game is played so much differently than it was 50 years ago when the 82-game season was introduced , that it may be time to consider shortening the regular season. However Commissioner Silver doesn’t believe shortening the season will decrease the amount of injuries especially because there are no facts or evidence to support the claim that injuries have increased over the years.
You look at all of the injuries to superstars that have happened this season you’ve got DeMarcus Cousins who’s out for the season, Steph Curry is going to be gone for the first round of the playoffs and a lot of the Warriors players are coming off the injured reserve list, do you think that 82 games is the right number of games to be playing every season or do you think that it’s too much at this point?
“The answer to that is I don’t know. We’ve had an 82 game schedule for over 50 years, that doesn’t mean that it’s the optimal number of games but it’s also not clear that the number of injuries have gone up. We don’t have great longitudinal data over the last 50 years so it’s very hard to make comparisons because how injuries have been categorized has changed, how rest has been categorized has changed and you would like to believe that with all of the enormous additional resources that have been focused on player health that we’re keeping our players healthy for longer periods of time.”
Silver went on to say that because of the NBA’s continued evolvement, the league has a responsibility to continue to research methods to shorten the recovery time for player injuries and ultimately keep players healthy.
“The game is more physical than it used to be, my sense is that guys are playing harder night in and night out than they once did because there is so much more attention on every moment of the game that we have an obligation to continue to look at the length of the season”.
“The simplistic way of looking at it is if there was a direct correlation between injuries and the length of the season there would be more injuries toward the latter part of the season than any other part of the season but there’s not and we don’t have more injuries in the playoffs than we do throughout the regular season. Clearly we have to figure out a way to cut down on injuries and bring players back faster when they do get injured but we haven’t figured that out yet.