On February 1, 2014 Adam Silver takes over the NBA Commissioner reins from David Stern. He has been Stern’s right hand man for a while, and it will be a shock to see him deviate from many of the things laid in place by Mr. Stern as he takes this position. However, many NBA fans would appreciate it if he made a few changes right away. Here are a few changes that would be put into place straightaway if I were Adam Silver.
The first thing addressed would be the teams that get into the playoffs. While the Western Conference is wide open this year, everyone knows that barring a catastrophic injury, the Eastern Conference will come down to the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers. That takes away all intrigue, and makes the first two rounds of the Eastern Conference playoffs almost not worth watching.
To counteract that, the six teams that win their division would get an automatic spot in the playoffs. After those spots are filled, the ten teams with the best records would be added, and get seeded accordingly regardless of conference. That way you have the sixteen best teams in the playoffs, and intriguing series from round one until a champion is crowned.
The next change would be to the voting of the All-Star starters. The popularity contest nature of the fan vote has been ridiculous for years. There is always a player or two that has not played a lot of games due to injury that gets the nod over someone more deserving. You also get players who have been outplayed by someone else at their position, but due to their popularity are voted a starter. The fan vote can still be a part of the process, and made to look better with a couple of tweaks.
Starting the voting on All-Stars after the first of the year would be the first tweak. That way players will be judged based on what they have done for the first couple of months of the season. Next, players would be required to have played a certain amount of games before they can be added to the balloting. This will keep players like Kobe Bryant out of the voting by fans, and open that spot up for someone more deserving in that particular season. Finally, the fan vote will simply put those five players in a pool, and once the coaches choose the rest of the players as is the custom, they also get to pick the starters. This should eliminate the popularity contest feel of the All-Star starters, and give the most deserving players the honor of starting in the mid-February showcase.
The last immediate change would be to the dress code. It is high time for that to go. This is a rule that I have been against since it was initially instituted. They wanted players to look “professional” when they come to their job. That is nice in theory, but the players are not paid for the walk from the car to the arena. They are paid for what they do on the court. Since they are all dressed in uniform during those 48 minutes, they are dressed professionally for their job. So, what they wear walking into the arena should not matter. Besides, in what other line of work is this type of attire considered “professional”? Away with the dress code.
Well, these are just a few changes that would be made if I were incoming commissioner Adam Silver. The NBA is in a pretty good place, despite the clamoring of my generation for it to go back to the “Jordan days”. However, it would not hurt to tinker with some rules that have been in place for years. Hopefully, Mr. Silver is open to change and not content with the status quo.