Adam Silver on 1-16 playoff seeding: “We’re not ready to make a change yet”

Getty Images
3 Comments

Right now in the Western Conference, the Denver Nuggets are on the outside looking in, a game back of the eight seed.

However, if the NBA were seeded 1-16 regardless of conference, the Nuggets would be in as the 16 seed (Denver and the L.A. Clippers would be in, Milwaukee and Miami would be out).

Not surprisingly, there is interest in Denver in the idea of changing the playoff seeding to 1-16 regardless of conference, rather than the current top eight in the East and West format. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver took part in the Denver Nuggets broadcast Thursday night and was asked about the potential for a change, as reported by Sam Amico of Amicohoops.com.

“We’re not ready to make a change yet,” Silver said…

“We’re serious about looking at it. We’re far from a place where there’s a solution,” Silver said. “Of course it makes sense to seed teams 1-16 in the league but we have two conferences that are geographically apart….

“You can also end up in the first round with Portland playing Miami,” he said. “To crisscross the country it adds enormous fatigue to the players and it would cut down on the quality of the competition and also potentially lead to more injuries.”

Silver also discussed the challenges of needing to balance out the schedule. Currently, teams in the West play the other teams in the West four times (a couple of teams just three times) and the teams in the other conference twice (a few only once to get to 82). That playing field would need to be leveled, which in and of itself would increase the need for travel.

What Silver didn’t discuss was the most significant obstacle — he would need to get a supermajority of 24 owners to agree on the format change. Good luck with that. If he can convince owners in the Eastern Conference right now to give up a shot at some playoff revenue and get them to vote against their own self-interests in the name of making the sport fairer, I will then vote for him for emperor.

What Silver said on the Nuggets broadcast is not that far off what he said on this 1-16 seeding idea All-Star weekend.

“(Seeding changes) is something that’s gotten serious attention, not just recently, but over the last few years at the league office,” Silver said in an address to the media. “I think, as I’ve said in the past, the obstacle is travel, and it’s not tradition in my mind, at least. It’s that as we’ve added an extra week to the regular season, as we’ve tried to reduce the number of back-to-backs, that we are concerned about teams crisscrossing the country in the first round, for example. We are just concerned about the overall travel that we would have in the top 16 teams.

“Having said that, you also would like to have a format where your two best teams are ultimately going to meet in The Finals…. So we’re going to continue to look at that. It’s still my hope that we’re going to figure out ways.”

If they do figure out ways it is going to take years.