Commissioner Adam Silver discusses the league’s ‘positionless basketball’ at the Finals press conference


Adam Silver: ‘We are a league that has increasingly turned to positionless basketball’

SAN FRANCISCO— There could soon be an adjustment to account for the apparent illogicality of Philadelphia center Joel Embiid finishing second in Kia’s NBA Most Valuable Player poll, but not ranking above second-team status among All-NBA selections, commissioner Adam Silver said Thursday.

Silver, speaking at his annual press conference ahead of Game 1 of the 2022 NBA Finals, acknowledged the discrepancies between MVP voting, All-Star selections and elite All-NBA teams chosen each year. .

“We are a league that has increasingly turned to positionless basketball,” Silver said at Chase Center about an hour before the whistleblower. “We will be having discussions with the players to change the way we vote for All-NBA teams. These decisions have a financial impact on the players.

MVP voting is essentially positionless, with five players ranked by a media panel of 100 voters. Denver’s Nikola Jokic won for the second straight season, earning 65 first-place votes to Embiid’s 26. Using the MVP point system, the Nuggets big man finished with 875 points to Embiid’s 706.

All-NBA honors adhere to league traditions, however, with two guards, two forwards and a center named for each of the three honors teams. Because both Jokic and Embiid played exclusively in the center in 2021-22, landing in the second team was necessary. This is how he ended up as the second most valuable player in the NBA, but not in the so-called All-NBA Top 5.

Then there’s All-Star voting, where fans and media vote for each conference’s starters in a hybrid distinction: two backcourt spots and three frontcourt spots. It was a change instituted several years ago as a nod to the diminished role of traditional “centers” — and the resulting difficulty of finding All-Star-caliber talent in that position.

There is a secondary voting issue as some of the awards and accolades are used to qualify players for “supermax” contracts worth tens of millions of additional dollars. This gives media voters some leverage over the process, a situation that no one – players, agents, media people – seem to appreciate.

Silver said: “It impacts players’ incentives and contracts, and it also has deep meaning for their legacies. So we’re going to look at those things.

Silver touched on a variety of topics in his opening remarks and in the Q&A session that followed:

• With six different teams taking part in the last three finals, the subject of parity has been raised. Silver preferred to focus on “parity of opportunity”:

“When I say I don’t care who wins, I mean, of course, I care about the platform we present and the competition itself,” he said. “Anyone running a league wants to see in my mind not necessarily parity on the pitch every year, but parity of opportunity.”

• The talk of injuries and the length of the 82-game season is a perennial topic here. The commissioner reminded people that last season, due to COVID considerations, was reduced to 72 games, with no appreciable difference in injury avoidance.

“I’m not against the possibility of changing the format of the season,” Silver said, “maybe even shortening it a bit, if we can demonstrate that it will have a direct impact on injuries.”

League data does not seem to confirm this.

Any future introduction of an oft-discussed in-season tournament would be to “create more meaningful games” potentially replacing part of the regular season schedule.

• Either the owners or the National Basketball Players Association can opt out in December of the last year of the collective agreement, which would push the end of the agreement to the summer of 2023 instead of 2024. Silver said the discussion of this possibility was premature, although he recognized the importance of having some urgency to move the negotiations forward.

“What was effective last time was using that opt-out option as a self-imposed deadline by both parties,” he said, calling it “really helpful to bring people to put their best deals across the table”.

These upcoming negotiations will be handled by the union’s new executive director, Tamika Tremaglio, who recently replaced Michele Roberts.

• Silver had nothing definitive to offer on a report that the Portland Trail Blazers may be available for purchase, although the team has released a statement that owner Jody Allen is not currently selling the team. The commissioner said the NBA hopes that whenever the franchise is sold, it will stay in Portland.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said he was “working side by side” with WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert to get detained star Brittney Griner out of Russia.

• WNBA star Brittney Griner remains in custody in Russia for more than 100 days, Silver said, and the league is working “closely” with the US government to secure his release.

• Now that there are 15 black head coaches in the NBA, half of all teams, Silver said he was encouraged by the progress but still wanted to be dedicated to bottom-up and top-down organizations, not only by race but also by sex.

“You have to talk about these issues all the time,” Silver said. “If you care about diversity and inclusion in your workplace, you need to look at the data. You have to constantly present it to your colleagues, department heads, teams, and it has to become a focus.

He added: “The point is that it’s not newsworthy and when people are hired their first reaction isn’t the color of their skin.”

On seeing more female coaches and referees, Silver said: “We’ve made progress in both areas…but we have to break that glass ceiling.”

Adam Silver on Diversity and Inclusion: “You have to talk about these issues all the time”

• Asked about the NBA’s business relationship with China, Silver said league games were re-scheduled on CCTV weeks ago. The TV shows had been halted by friction in October 2019 over support for Philadelphia executive Daryl Morey on Hong Kong social media.

“My position is, has said it many times, that I think engagement is positive, especially through sports,” Silver said. “I think to keep people safe and prosperous, it’s extremely important to use sport as a platform to get people talking around the world.”

• A report that the league planned to expand to Seattle and Las Vegas in 2024? “This speech is not true,” said the commissioner.

• Silver expressed his sadness in his opening remarks over the recent passing of Hall of Fame center Bob Lanier. Long after his playing career ended in 1984, Lanier served as a league ambassador, assisting both Silver and his predecessor David Stern.

• Silver encouraged the Boston Celtics in their bid to host All-Star Weekend in 2025 or 2026. After a period in which the league struggled to attract host cities, he said, a “long list of cities” is now interested in winning the league. annual showcase.

Steve Aschburner has been writing about the NBA since 1980. You can email him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs, or Turner Broadcasting.

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