Commissioner Adam Silver on revamping NBA playoff structure

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Last week, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said he was open to revamping the NBA season entirely by reducing the number of games played each year from 82. However, it appears he isn't planning on just stopping there, as he is looking to make major changes to the playoffs as well.

Silver said during an interview with USA Today that he would be willing to make adjustments to the season in the hope that it will allow players to better endure the threat of injury, with one of these changes being the length of the NBA regular season.

Another change that he would like to make is to the playoffs, which has been under scrutiny in recent years due to the inconsistency in wins between Western Conference and Eastern Conference teams.

Most people would like to have the best 16 teams with the best records in the playoffs, rather than the format which we have now where eight teams from each conference make the playoffs. This will stop teams with sub-.500 records from being included, however, Silver recognizes that this will be a complicated change.

Silver said to ESPN: "Reformatting the playoffs is something we'll continue to look at. I think though it would require revisiting the regular-season schedule as well. As I've said before, we don't play a balanced schedule now, as I'm sure you know. And for those that don't, that means that teams in the East play each other more than they play teams in the West.

"And our feeling is, if we were going to seed 1-16, we would need to play a balanced schedule to make it fair for everyone if we were going to seed 1-16 in the playoffs. It may be that as we continue to experiment with the number of days over which we can schedule 82 games that it will create more of an opportunity for a balanced schedule."

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Silver reiterated that the 82-game schedule is not confirmed and that the league might be willing to reduce the length of the season to accommodate a new 1-16 playoff format.

"Let me add to that I said the other day [to USA Today] that there's no magic in an 82-game season. It's not a change you're going to see in the short term, but I think when we step back and look holistically at our schedule and how playoffs are seeded we should look at the entire format.

"Counter-balancing seeding playoff teams 1-16 is also the desire to create more rest for our players and when possible reduce the amount of travel.

"In adding the extra week to the regular season this year, we will be able to eliminate completely four games in five nights. I think it's the first time in the history of the league we were able to do that. Plus we have back to backs at an all-time low.

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"If we took the existing format, the existing schedule and then we seeded playoffs 1-16, we'd be adding additional travel. You would have teams criss-crossing the country in the first round."

While these ideas sound like they would make the NBA better, ultimately, however, it will be team owners that will have the final say on any changes made to the playoffs and the length of the regular season.

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