New NBA commissioner Adam Silver has made his presence felt since succeeding David Stern on February 1. Now Silver is proposing quite a bold strategy to inject life into the middle of the regular season.
Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe has the details and his own analysis from Silver's Tuesday press conference, in which he pitched a potential midseason tournament:
Silver said the league is considering the idea of a midseason tournament, similar to soccer. Interesting. #nba— gary washburn (@GwashburnGlobe) July 16, 2014
A midseason tournament would give teams a chance to win a title other than the NBA Finals and it would also add interest to the league #NBA— gary washburn (@GwashburnGlobe) July 16, 2014
Yahoo Sports' Marc J. Spears added the potential location, Las Vegas, where a branch of the Association's summer league action is taking place:
Silver said the NBA is considering a mid-season tournament, possibly in Las Vegas.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 16, 2014
Now that would be quite the shakeup.
ESPN.com's Marc Stein offered his take, praising Silver's innovative mindset:
Key takeaway from Adam Silver's presser today, of course, is that he continues to be open to hearing new ideas to make the league better— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 16, 2014
How do you feel about a potential NBA midseason tournament?
Former sports marketing executive Sony Vaccaro outlined the opposing ideologies Stern and Silver have brought to the commissioner's office.
"They are absolutely two different people," said Vaccaro, per an October 2012 report by The Wall Street Journal's Scott Cacciola, Ashby Jones and Matthew Futterman. "David was thought of as someone who ramrodded his way through with his ideas. David is his mentor, but Adam's not like that. He's 'Mr. Congeniality.' I seldom saw an argumentative piece of Adam's personality."
Provided that the NBA makes tweaks to the schedule and doesn't force players to participate in 82 games on top of another tournament, this proposition could work well. If not, there would be too much wear and tear on even the best teams by the time the playoffs hit, thus decreasing the quality of basketball.
There would also be a decline in the overall NBA product. If fans weren't behind the idea, the goal of creating more incentive for teams to stay competitive might wind up backfiring.
But with a reduced regular-season schedule and time for the tournament to accumulate prestige, this could be an excellent move. The long grind before the postseason leads teams to plan ahead for that, because there is little else to look forward to.
Raising the stakes may also discourage the concept of "tanking." While it may not be a publicly acknowledged concept, drafting outside the lottery offers little benefit for struggling franchises in the modern era. Putting draft compensation on the line would help combat that.
Regardless of whether this idea comes to fruition, Silver is proving once again that he isn't afraid of taking action and getting creative to improve the NBA any way he can. Filling Stern's shoes is an unenviable task given how the ex-commissioner grew the game with such effectiveness. The beginning to Silver's tenure suggests he is an ideal ambassador to continue the Association's perpetual ascent.