Silver open to changing NBA draft, playoff systems

Posted at 03/02/14 12:07 PM

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said he is open to making changes to the NBA's playoff and draft systems.

Silver, who was interviewed on Saturday by journalist/author Malcolm Gladwell at the annual Sloan Conference on sports analytics, touched on a number of ideas in attempts to improve the NBA.

For one, Silver said he is "fascinated" with the idea of having a single-elimination tournament to determine the final playoff spots.

"By having a seven-game series, you reduce the randomness of the outcome," Silver said.

"I think what's so exciting about college basketball - and I'm a huge college basketball fan - is the single-elimination tournament, the NCAA tournament. There, statistically, you're gonna have a lot more upsets. So, I think for us, well, I have mixed views.

"In case of certain teams where star players were injured for a portion of the season or the team didn't jell until later in the season, that team can become competitive. Right? I like that idea."

Regarding the current NBA lottery system that determines the draft order for non-playoff teams, Silver admitted the system has issues. He likes the idea pushed by Boston Celtics assistant general manager Michael Zarren of a wheel system that assigns each team the 30 first-round picks during a 30-year cycle.

"I thought, 'Wow, that solves our problems'," Silver said.

He also said testing for human growth hormone is in the works, but he does not believe performance-enhancing drugs are a significant problem in the NBA.

"I've been in the NBA for 22 years. I talk to players all the time. I talk to retired players. And I don't hear about it," Silver said.

"I don't want to be naive. I mean, we don't have HGH testing in our league. It's something that we agreed we would do with the union, and we're waiting to agree what the appropriate procedures are."

Silver is open to lengthening the All-Star break so players are better rested.

"That seems very sensible to me," he said.

The commissioner does not believe expanding with a single team in Europe is practical for travel reasons, but he said a European division is possible in the future.

Silver also addressed the NBA entry-level age, saying he favors raising it to 20.

"Maybe the 20-year-old is a shorthand," Silver said. "I would just say a better integration of AAU, youth, high school, college basketball and NBA basketball. This is the sport of the 21st century. We have enormous opportunity."

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Guard Jimmer Fredette will sign with the Chicago Bulls after he clears waivers, according to USA Today.

Fredette will be free to join any team after being waived by the Sacramento Kings this week.

Fredette was the number 10 overall pick of the 2010 draft out of BYU.

Because he was waived before March 1, he will be eligible for inclusion on the Bulls' playoff roster. The Bulls started Saturday fourth in the Eastern Conference at 32-26.

Fredette is averaging 5.9 points per game this season on 48 percent shooting (49 percent from three-point range). For his career, he is averaging seven points and 1.5 assists per contest.

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The Dallas Mavericks reassigned small forward Jae Crowder and point guard Shane Larkin to the Texas Legends of the NBA Development League on Saturday.

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The Phoenix Suns signed forward Shavlik Randolph for the rest of the season and waived center Slava Kravtsov, the team announced Saturday.

Randolph, a six-year NBA veteran, has played 111 games with the Philadelphia 76ers (2005-08), Portland Trail Blazers (2008-10), Miami Heat (2009-10) and Boston Celtics (2012-13). He holds career averages of 2.7 points and 2.7 rebounds per game.

Randolph played in China this season. He has also played in Puerto Rico during his career.

Randolph will be available for Sunday night's game against the Atlanta Hawks.

Kravtsov, in his second NBA season, averaged 1.0 point and 0.9 rebounds in 3.0 minutes over 20 games this season.

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The Philadelphia 76ers signed forward Jarvis Varnado to a 10-day contract. Varnado is averaging 14.1 points and 4.7 blocks for the Iowa Energy in the NBA's D-League. He appeared in one game during a 10-day contract with the Chicago Bulls earlier this season.

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