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NBA AM: Would A Playoff Seeding Change Work?

NBA commissioner admits he’s thought of making a monumental change to the current playoff structure

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Commissioner Adam Silver evaluating changes to playoff seeding

Hardcore NBA fans are invested in the league throughout the grueling and rigorous 82 games season, however, for the casual fan their interest typically hits its stride come playoff time. With so many eyes on the league during the end of the season and ratings continuing to soar, it’s no surprise the association continues to look for a way to capitalize.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver has made headlines recently for becoming an early supporter of legalized sports gambling. But the commissioner may also be looking to alter the NBA’s current structure. While nothing is imminent, it’s clear Silver has at least given this topic more than a quick glance over.

While responding to a fan’s playoff seeding question on Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area about whether the league should take the top 16 teams, regardless of conference affiliation, and assign them into a tourney Silver responded candidly.

“Ultimately we want to see your best teams in the playoffs. And there is an unbalance and a certain unfairness. There is a proposal (from one of the broadcasters)…  where the division winners would all automatically go into the playoffs and then you’d seed the next 10 best teams. I think that’s the kind of proposal we need to look at. There are travel issues of course, but in this day in age every team of course has their own plane, travels charter. I don’t think the discussion should end there. And as I’ve said, my first year I was studying a lot of these issues and year two is time to take action. It’s something I’m going to look at closely with the competition committee. I do think it’s an area where we need to make a change.”

The concept is interesting and the teams impacted the most would typically be a squad not positioned to go deep into the postseason in the first place. Obviously, the league would need to do a lot more work in that space, but it’s refreshing to see innovative ideas being discussed instead of rolling with the status quo.

Patrick Ewing still holding out hope for a head coaching opportunity

In recent years franchises around the NBA have been a bit more liberal in their head coach hiring process. The Cleveland Cavaliers hired David Blatt straight from the international realm without league experience. The New York Knicks invested over $20 million in former player Derek Fisher as soon as he hung up his high tops for good. The Brooklyn Nets took the plunge a year prior with future Hall of Fame guard Jason Kidd (now with Milwaukee). Golden State also jumped into the fray by hiring former general manager and player Steve Kerr last summer.

But for all of the new guys getting a shot to run the show there’s still plenty of guys who’ve put in the grunt work as assistants around the league waiting for a call.

Hall of Fame center Patrick Ewing currently serves as the associate head coach of the Charlotte Hornets. The once dominant big man has made it no secret he’d like an opportunity to become a sideline general, but has netted only two interviews over the past 13 years.

“I’d like the opportunity to succeed or fail like everybody else. I can’t sit around and boo-hoo, ‘They won’t give me an opportunity,’ ” Ewing told Michael Lee of the Washington Post. “I just keep working and keep grinding, and whenever my name is called or somebody decides to give me that call, I just want to make sure I’m ready.”

For now, Ewing maintains he’s just staying prepared should the opportunity arise to lead a team while avoiding being stereotyped as just a solid influence for big men.

“That’s one thing I didn’t want to be, is to be pigeonholed into being a big man’s coach. I’m a coach,” Ewing said. “Even though the center position is the position that I played, I know I lot about it, but this is not brain surgery. It’s basketball. Talking to a guard or forward or center and telling them what I see, that’s what I do.”

The Orlando Magic, where Ewing once served as an assistant coach, parted ways with head coach Jacque Vaughn this week. There have yet to be any public reports linking the Magic as being interested in pursuing Ewing at the current time.

Lang Greene is a senior NBA writer for Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA for the last 10 seasons

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