Adam Silver Says It's Up to the Rest of the NBA to Catch Up to the Warriors

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJune 14, 2017

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver speaks at a news conference before Game 1 of basketball's NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers in Oakland, Calif., Thursday, June 1, 2017. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver sees no problem with the construction of the Golden State Warriors and said his goal as commissioner is to help make ways for teams to catch up to the newly crowned champions.

"Rather than focusing on the top of the league, we should be focusing on the rest of the league," Silver told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post before Game 4 of the Finals. "Rather than talking about how to break up or knock down a championship-caliber team, my focus should be on how we do a better job developing more great players in this league."

The Warriors won their second title in three years Monday night with a 129-120 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 5. Kevin Durant, who signed with Golden State last July after a major cap spike gave the Warriors unexpected cap room, won Finals MVP. Durant averaged 35.2 points, 8.2 rebounds and 5.4 assists during the five-game series but has taken flak for leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder for a rival.

"And yes, an incredible free agent was added to that squad," Silver said. "All the focus seems to be on, 'They're too good' as opposed to, 'What is it we should be doing to create more great teams in this league?' That's what my response is.

"My answer is, let's create more great teams, rather than completely focus on one incredible team and whether that's seemingly unfair to the other team. I think it's the nature of competition. Ultimately, it's about raising the bar for all the teams in this league and celebrating excellence."

The Warriors are in the midst of one of the best three-year stretches in NBA history. They won 67 regular-season games in each of their championship seasons and broke the single-season wins mark with 73 in 2015-16. Golden State won a record 15 straight games of the 2017 playoffs and blasted a number of other postseason marks along the way.

The Cavaliers have built their own near-unbeatable core with LeBron James, Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving and a host of other role players. Cleveland lost just one game in romping its way through the Eastern Conference and likely would have three straight rings if it weren't for the rising Warriors.

At issue is the fact that there are 28 other teams that walked into this season seemingly hopeless. Their best chance was to roll the dice and pray a major piece in Cleveland or Golden State got hurt and gave them an opportunity.

Silver said he does not want a full-scale conglomeration of players joining forces to alter the competitive balance of the league. However, Silver was careful to point out that's not what happened in Golden State.

"That's of course something we wouldn't want," Silver said. "Are stars born, or are they made? The issue here, this wasn't a function of a bunch of star players coming together and saying, 'Let's choose a team to go play for.' You had one incredible free agent join a group of other stars who weren't stars until they came together, and came together under Steve Kerr and demonstrated excellence."

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