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Adam Silver addressees playoff seeding, concussion reform before NBA Finals

Before the start of the NBA Finals, the commissioner met the media to talk about the league's hot button issues.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA will look into changing the division seeding structure that decides NBA playoff seeds, and will make a decision "fairly quickly," NBA commissioner Adam Silver said before Game 1 of the NBA Finals. The league will look to seed teams 1-8 within conferences irrespective of division finish, according to Silver.

Currently, the seeding system guarantees a top-four seed to a division winner regardless of their record. That practice was called into question this season when the Portland Trail Blazers earned the No. 4 seed in the West for winning the Northwest Division even though they had the sixth-best overall record in the conference. That bumped Memphis to the No. 5 seed and San Antonio to the No. 6 seed despite both having three more wins than Portland.

The Grizzlies defeated the Trail Blazers, 4-1, but the Spurs lost to the Clippers in the first round. Had the teams been seeded 1-8 regardless of division record, San Antonio would have faced Memphis and Portland would have faced the Clippers.

However, Silver also said that any proposal to remove conferences and seed the playoffs 1-16 "doesn't seem like a good idea right now" because of "the additional travel that'll result." Such a move would have dramatically changed the first-round matchups. Golden State would have faced Brooklyn instead of New Orleans.


On lottery reform: Silver said that while he's still in favor of changing the system to make it tougher for the worst teams to receive the No. 1 overall pick, the league has "parked" the issue until the salary cap explosion ends. "Without knowing how our teams are going to react to this massive amount of cap room about to come in, something that's never happened, that's one issue where ... we should wait and take a look at this issue holistically," Silver said.

On concussion reform: Silver said the league believes its current protocol is "best in class," but is always open to new ideas. He also said the Warriors, to his knowledge, followed the protocol with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson in the Western Conference Finals.

On injuries: Many high profile players missed the playoffs due to injury, which Silver acknowledged. But the full season data the NBA has, indicated that injuries as a whole are not up over previous years.

On Hack-A-Whoever: The league researched the issue and found that the problem, at least according to current data, was overstated, both in terms of the use of the practice and the audience switching the channel. "It will be helpful to look at another season of data," Silver said.

On the Bucks' new arena: A funding plan for a new arena in Milwaukee was agreed upon Thursday and now will go to the state legislature for a vote. Silver said he's "fairly confident" that the measure will pass and that the Bucks will stay in Milwaukee for "a long time." "These are, to me, the paradigm of what public and private partnerships should be," he said.

All quotes via NBATV.