NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is China for the NBA China Games and was asked about the league making more changes to the All-Star game format.
Adam Silver: 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 [ESPN.com reporter Nick Friedell] know. For those who don’t, that means that teams in the East play each other more than they play teams in the West. Our feeling is if we were going to seed 1 through 16, we would need to play a balanced schedule to make it fair for everyone.
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. Right now — well, let me just add to that, too. I said the other day to [USA Today reporter] Sam Amick, who’s here, that there’s no magic in an 82-game season. I think 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 the playoffs are seeded, we should look at the entire format.
Counterbalancing seeding the teams 1 through 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 were able to eliminate completely four games out of five nights, which I think is 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. If we took the existing format and the existing schedule and then we seeded playoffs 1 through 16, we’ll be adding additional travel because you could have teams crisscrossing the country in the first round. But I understand the interest in doing that.
We do seed the WNBA playoff schedule regardless of conferences, and that’s been very successful. It’s resulted, for example, in a fantastic five-game [Finals] series the last two seasons.
We’re going to continue looking at it. Again, the East and West, the balance fluctuates back and forth. It hasn’t moved as quickly back to the East as it has historically, but at the end of the day we want to produce the best possible competition. So we’ll keep examining it.