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NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION MEDIA CONFERENCE
June 2, 2016
New York, New York
ADAM SILVER: Thank you, Tim, and most importantly thank you all for being here. It's been an incredible season. All 30 teams and players, just so much fantastic basketball throughout the year.
Let me begin also by congratulating the Toronto Raptors and the Oklahoma City Thunder for two fantastic Conference Finals.
Having been there with these teams all season, and I know there's a lot of people in the back of the room here from the two teams that are now still playing, it's just hard to underestimate the effort that's required. And I know many of you in this room began with the league preseason, which started September 26th this year.
So it's an incredible year in terms of maintaining your health both physically and mentally, for the teams, for the coaches, for the front office. So it's an incredible accomplishment. Let me say again to the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Toronto Raptors, fantastic job.
Now, for these two organizations, of course it is organizations, and let me begin with the Golden State Warriors, with Joe Lacob and Peter Guber, just two fantastic owners. Joe is the governor of the team. He's become very involved in league matters. He does a lot on behalf of the league. I want to commend him for that. And Peter Guber is a fantastic partner of his.
Bob Myers does a fantastic job as the general manager, Rick Welts as the president of the team. And Steve Kerr, what more can I say, Coach of the Year, together with Luke Walton this year, they just put on just a great show throughout the year. And the 73-win season, of course, will be one that will be tough to beat, and it's going to be in the record books for a while. So just a really enjoyable season.
The Cleveland Cavaliers, Dan Gilbert, again, a tremendous owner of that organization, very involved in league matters. Someone I talk to on a regular basis. His general manager, Griff (David Griffin), does also a fantastic job in this league. Ty Lue came in this season, obviously went from being associate head coach to head coach under difficult circumstances. But my hat's off to him with what he's done with this team. So congrats to all those folks.
In terms of the game, it's never been better. It's a fantastic time to be a basketball fan. It's a fantastic time to be an NBA fan. It just seems like the game is being reinvented. I don't know how else to say it. It seems like both teams are transforming the game the way we're seeing it played, the athleticism of these players. You have superstar players who can play five different positions. You have players like, for example, Steph Curry, who not only broke his own three-point record -- what people are saying last year, maybe we'd have 300 made three-point shots this year. Of course, he busted through 300 and ended up with 402 three-point made shots for the regular season.
I was thinking about it, in some ways maybe that's like when Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile. I mean, it's something that just a few years ago people thought wouldn't be done. And the reason I'm comparing him to Roger Bannister is when Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile, it wasn't something that then nobody touched for another 20 years. Shortly thereafter others broke that barrier. And my sense is that Steph and together with Klay (Thompson) what they're doing when it comes to three-point shooting, they've overcome a psychological barrier, I think, for a lot of players who just never thought the kind of shots they would make were possible.
When you see Steph especially, when you see him that far behind the three-point line, where on a regular basis he's making 30-footers and making shots and requiring defenses to cover him in ways that they're not used to covering players, it changes the whole dynamic of our game. I tell you, it's just incredibly exciting.
Same thing for the Cavaliers. I think what LeBron James is doing, his sixth Finals in a row. I think what he from a physical standpoint is able to do, just his size, his strength, his speed, again, I think this is just a delight for basketball fans everywhere.
Let me just conclude before I answer your questions by saying, the fan in me can't wait for it to get started. I'm anticipating a fantastic Finals as a culmination to what's just been a wonderful season. So with that, happy to answer any questions.
Q. This has been a showcase not only for the Warriors but the city of Oakland when you think of the Bay Area. When you think of the three Bay Area cities, Oakland's usually the last on that list. What is the possibility of the Warriors relocation to San Francisco and trying to keep the team here in Oakland where they have a tremendous fan base?
ADAM SILVER: Here, I'm not from the Bay Area, so I can't speak to sort of the relative importance of the various cities out here. All I can tell you is I'm very supportive of Joe and Peter and Rick Welts and their desire to move the franchise to San Francisco. I'm pleased it would remain in the Bay Area. I know they've had fantastic support here from Oakland. I don't think there's any doubt that they need a new arena in this market. And, again, the project has been presented to me several times in San Francisco, and it seems like it will be yet again the best of its kind. I'm very supportive of them doing it.
Q. Historically when players have sort of sent a message to the game that they have caught up with it and maybe even broken through it, like you talk about with Steph, whether it's George Mikan, Wilt Chamberlain, whatever, the game responds and the league responds and make rules changes and things like that. Do you foresee this league looking at the depth of the three-point line? Any changes in the court dimensions, anything at all?
ADAM SILVER: Not anytime soon, and largely because when we've changed the rules in the past -- and much of that happened before my time in the game -- it was because there was a view that a particular player because of his skill had, frankly, an unfair advantage over other players. It made the game either less enjoyable, less competitive, less aesthetically pleasing.
I think in this case, as I said, this is the best basketball many of us have experienced in our lifetimes. I think that in some ways Steph's three-point shooting becomes an equalizer. Especially given the amount of travel I do outside the United States.
To me, what's happening with Steph, and it's not just young boys, but young girls as well, while he's by no means small relative to regular-sized folks, by NBA standards he's a little bit undersized. I mean, he's smaller than the average player in this league. He's not particularly physically overwhelming, and I think it broadens the pool in many ways of potential players in this league. I think even with his three-point shooting, what it's demonstrating is that there's a whole -- for a class of young people playing the game who can at least dream that they can potentially do what he can do. You can't dream that you're going to be 7 feet tall, but you can work at it and become a fantastic competitor on the floor.
So we're always looking at things, and one of the things the Competition Committee does over the summer is sit back and spend a lot of time looking at trends in the league, shooting trends and the way defenses are played, and the business side too, how fans are reacting to it.
So I'd only say that I don't think any change is necessary right now. We'll continue to look at it. And incidentally, in fairness to Steph and to Klay to a certain degree, it's not clear whether they may be aberrational. We may be looking back in 10 years from now and saying no one else can do what they can do. My hunch is that won't be the case. That may be what Steph is demonstrating; he's just so good that no one else can touch him. But we'll see. Right now at least I think the game is just fantastic in its current state.
Q. Adam, we've seen in the Playoffs, especially the Western Conference Finals, some late kicks or flailing kicks. What were you thinking when you saw those plays? Would you like to see a defined penalty, and what are you charging the Competition Committee with looking at in regard to that play?
ADAM SILVER: So in terms of the flailing, and we're seeing a lot more late kicks and, frankly, players flailing their arms as well, it's clear what they're doing. They're trying to sell calls. They're trying to make contact. They're trying to demonstrate that they're getting fouled on particular plays. It's not something new in the league, but as we track it, it's becoming more prevalent.
It's not something we want to see. In terms of flagrant fouls and potential suspensions, one of the things we look at is the intent of the players. Obviously it's very difficult to discern intent. We want to find a way to discourage players from flailing. Because whether or not they're intentionally -- in the case of Draymond Green, just to talk to it directly and whether or not he was intentionally trying to connect to Steven Adams' groin, the fact is he certainly had the intent to make physical contact with the defender. And it may be that we have to take a fresh look at that and draw a brighter line in terms of what's permissible on the court so that we do a better job disincentivizing players from any potential non-basketball move that could result in injuring another competitor.
So it is something that we've talked a lot about in the last few weeks. We've been talking about it throughout the season. Obviously a very controversial play that you just mentioned, and it's on the agenda for the Competition Committee when we meet this summer.
Q. Can you talk to us about the future? You're so happy about where the product is now. With the league and the players' union able to opt out of the collective bargaining agreement and the salary cap jumping up the next couple years, is the league comfortable where salaries are going for individual players, and what do we have to look forward to in the next year?
ADAM SILVER: Well, as you mentioned, we are in the midst of a 10-year collective bargaining agreement, but in year six next year, either side has the opportunity to opt out of the agreement. So because of that, it's no secret, we've been engaged in discussions with the Players Association. Both we and the Players Association have agreed, as you all know, that we won't share what we've been talking about behind closed doors with the public. But I only say I remain optimistic. I think there are aspects of the collective bargaining agreement that both sides would like to see addressed, and we're engaged in constructive discussions over how we can find ways to make the system even better.
I'd only say that there are two critical aspects of the system. One is the macro financials of the system, and that is measured by the league in terms of profitability and for the players, of course, their individual salaries and what the players can make on a macro-basis. But just as importantly are the competitive issues. I think creating a system that allows every team I'd say the equality -- an equal opportunity to compete for championships. I think we're never going to have NFL-style parity in this league. It is the nature of this league that certain players are so good that those teams are likely almost automatically if that player remains healthy to become playoff teams and especially mixed with other great players.
But having said that, there are still additional things we think we can do that will further encourage strong competition throughout the league. One fantastic trend I believe we're seeing in the league, and you saw it with the Western Conference Finals, Oklahoma City has the smallest market in the league, has the exact same ability to put together a fantastic team and create culture just like a team from the Bay Area, and just in the same way that Cleveland does with the Toronto team. And I think that was one of our goals in the last collective bargaining agreement.
I think players are responding. And players are attracted to strong cultures and players are attracted to situations where they see an opportunity to win and also recognize all the economic benefits that follow from that as well, rather than the economic benefits coming from a particular market or the fact a market might be larger than another one.
Q. There's been some criticism throughout the Playoffs about officiating, the ref assignments and the Last Two-Minute Report, some from players and some also from media and fans. Can you just tell us what you think is the benefit of the Last Two-Minute Report and officiating as a whole?
ADAM SILVER: Yeah, so I'd say the Last Two-Minute Report, we do to be as transparent as possible with the public in terms of how we think critical moments of the game are being officiated. We're in the second year of our Last Two-Minute Reports, and I still remain strongly behind them. Now, I understand the criticism from some of the teams that, What's the point? Why are you telling the world that this call was decided incorrectly? May have gone in our favor, may not have. Nothing can be done about it after the fact.
My view, first of all, in terms of building confidence in the public, they want to see consistency. So they want to understand if we call something a foul, why we called it a foul, and we often give explanations for why we believe something was a foul, whether it was correctly called or incorrectly called. And also whether our teams or the fans want to have a better understanding how we see the game. If we think something's a block, are we consistent. And it gives them transparency into the media so they can judge us accordingly and they can line up Last Two-Minute Reports or line up various plays and see whether or not we're being consistent.
I also think that this notion for the public that if it's all in some black box and nobody really knows how we feel about a particular play -- I just think we're seeing more transparency in all of society now. We had begun moving along this path some years ago where in response to media inquiries we'd single out an individual play, and when asked why it would be that play, presumably it was because it was getting a lot of attention from media. And the media would say, Isn't that true that the call was incorrect? And the chatter would get to a certain level that we'd feel obligated to say whether we agree or disagree.
And as I said before, I think some of the teams fairly said, it seems incredibly arbitrary from the league office that you're choosing that play to respond to but not a play that we think went against us 30 seconds earlier in the game. So we came up with this notion of the Last Two-Minute Reports. I think it's a bit of a bright line. I think anytime you draw bright lines you can argue whether you should have been on one side or the other side of it. But games decided by five points or less we're going to release our view of the officiating from the last two minutes. Again, I think it allows you, the members of the media and the public, to make their own judgments.
Incidentally, just to be clear, often teams disagree with us, and I'm not naive to think that just because the league office said it was a foul that some of the great coaches or GMs in this league or owners necessarily say, Oh, therefore they're right, but it at least gives them a sense of where we stand and requires us to give our explanation of why we thought whatever the decision we made was accurate.
It ties directly into replay, I should say too. Because one thing I'm pleased about is as we've continued to add more triggers for replay over the years. I think we're finally at the point where everyone's saying, I think it's about right. People recognize there are additional plays that we could replay, but balance against the stoppage in play or making our games even longer or taking away the flow from the game. We're at about the right point.
So it's our hope that you take the Last Two-Minute Reports together with using a certain amount of replay that we're building to build trust and integrity in the league. That people are going to recognize that we are going to make mistakes, the officials are going to make mistakes. Human error is going to be part of this game, just as it is with players. But they're going to come away saying, All right, there are people that they've made a mistake, they're going to try to understand why we made it. Incidentally I think having Steve Javie on ESPN, obviously, a former longtime NBA official, not just talking about plays but explaining from his standpoint why he thinks the officials were wrong based on their training, what they're taught to look at in a particular moment in the game. They're taught to look at their hands in that case, not at their feet. That's why they may miss it. Joe Borgia does the same for Turner and NBA TV. I think all of that helps. The more we can educate our fans about what we're doing, how difficult the jobs are for the officials, I think the better we'll be.
Lastly I'd say largely what these Last Two-Minute Reports are showing is that the referees get it right about 90% of the time.
Now, from a fan standpoint, the other side of the coin is so, in other words, they're getting it wrong one out of 10 calls? And I accept that.
So to your ultimate question, how do I feel about the officiating? My feeling is I'd like that to be 100%. I'd love to get zero errors. I don't think we're ever going to be there. But we can learn from these reports. We can learn from talking to our teams where it is that we're falling down in terms of our program, potentially our training, and find ways to improve it.
So ultimately perception is one thing. And I think it's critically important that I deal with perception, but most importantly substantively we have to deal with the program and see what it is we can do to continue to improve officiating.
By the way, I just met with the officials before this game, just to wish them luck and tell them to stay healthy, and they couldn't agree more. They share that view. They understand there is huge potential to be embarrassed when the league is putting out reports and acknowledging that calls are wrong, and they want to get it right too. Believe me. I mean, it's just like we've all had those moments and I finish a press conference and I say, Oh, my God, I can't believe what I just said, and I see myself on television and it's even worse.
The officials seem to feel the same way. When they go back into the locker room after a game and somebody shows them a replay and it demonstrates it was something that was not shown on replay and they realize they got it wrong, there is a terrible pit in their stomachs and they lose a lot of sleep over that. So we all share common interests in improving officiating and finding ways, whatever it takes, to make it even better.
Q. With the Charlotte All-Star Game, is there any developments there and is there any line-in-the-sand date that you have to get to to see some changes?
ADAM SILVER: There is no line in the sand and intentionally we didn't want to draw a line in the sand. The discussions are ongoing. I was in North Carolina about two and a half weeks ago, spoke to a lot of business leaders in Charlotte who are working behind the scenes, frankly, to craft some sort of compromise with the governmental leaders both in the city and the state.
I'd say there is absolutely strong interest in trying to work something out. I think both sides of the issue recognize, however heartfelt their views are, that the current state of being is causing enormous economic damage to the state. I think they realize that we very much would like to play next year's All-Star Game in North Carolina, as I've said before. We, of course, have a team in Charlotte, North Carolina. So we as a league want to make sure there is an environment where the LGBT community feels protected down in North Carolina. At the same time, I think the bathroom issue, frankly, has become a little bit of a distraction. From the very beginning, that was not the core issue here. It was protection for the LGBT community in terms of economic rights, personal rights, and the bathroom bill became part of it.
It's my feeling at this point given that that issue has attracted so much attention from the Department of Education, from the Department of Justice, from lawsuits now pending in the Federal courts that that issue is now much, much bigger than Charlotte and North Carolina and certainly than the NBA. I think especially when it comes to school children. Those are issues that need to be worked through by experts and will be worked through by experts and the courts.
I think there are other fundamental issues that I think if we can work through with the community to ensure those basic protections are given to the LGBT community. I think if we can make progress there, we will see you all in Charlotte next February.
Q. You alluded earlier to the idea of parity. We have obviously a rematch in The Finals right now and before that there was a rematch with San Antonio and Miami. So it's been only four teams in The Finals in the last four years. Fairly unusual. On balance, good thing, bad thing, and other implications there do you think for competitive balance?
ADAM SILVER: Let me just add to your statistic that I think the four teams in The Finals in the last four years that there have been 10 teams in the Conference Finals over the last four years. So roughly a third of the league has been in the Conference Finals over the last four years.
The word "parity," it's interesting. I thought a lot about it lately, which is why I kind of stopped myself a minute ago and said that rather than parity being our goal, I think it should be a quality of opportunity, or maybe there is a better way of saying it. Because as I said, I look -- for example, I'm a football fan. And I look at the NFL, and as a fan I love that any-given-Sunday notion. I think it's just by virtue of that game when an individual player cannot be as dominant, when separate players are playing offense and defense, et cetera, when players aren't necessarily going to touch the ball on every play, that you can create more true parity.
I think in this league we recognize that certain players are so unique and we're going to see a lot of those players in this Finals, clearly LeBron, Kyrie Irving. These are some of the best athletes in the world. Obviously, Steph and Klay and Draymond, also an All-Star on their team.
When you add those players to teams and then those teams are well-managed and well-coached, they have incentives to stay together because they know ultimately nobody can do it themselves and it does require a team. So it's sort of momentum gets built, and then you have a salary system where teams, especially for superstars, are not competing on salaries because it's a system that controls how much they make. As I've said, one of the things I love, the trend that's happened in this league over the last five years is that the economic opportunities come from success, not come from markets. I've said this before in talking to Nike, the two largest endorsers by dollars for Nike -- I think I have this right -- are LeBron number one, and he's in Cleveland, and Kevin Durant, number two, in Oklahoma City. And those deals were based on the global prominence of those players. They were not a function in any way of the markets they happen to be playing in.
I think what's positive in this league is the players realize that the additional success will come from staying in those markets.
So to answer your question, in terms of so-called parity, I think the best we can hope for in this league is that every market, every team has the opportunity to compete for those great players, can obviously enter the draft and do their best, but then take those players they draft, take those players that they trade for or sign as free agents, build culture, coach those players well, strategically manage a system and build toward success.
So I don't necessarily measure success or not based on how many different teams over four years we have in The Finals. I'd say in this year from the league standpoint, we want the regular season to matter. I was proud in many ways of the fact the Golden State Warriors were open about the fact they were going for the record. I almost couldn't believe what I was hearing at certain points in the Playoffs when commentators were saying, If they were to lose in the Playoffs would it have been worth it to have won 73 games? I thought, My gosh, that's the state of the game. It's truly boom or bust. The only thing that matters is championships.
I'd just finish by saying the only thing that matters isn't championships. By definition, if there was such a thing as true parity and every team had the same chance of winning every year, I guess statistically you would win once out of 30 years. So that would be the odd result as well. I think what fans around the league, what the communities want is teams to compete.
It's silly to say everybody wants their team to win, because the fans are too smart. They know it's a zero-sum game, and the league office at least yet hasn't figured out how to create more wins. So what fans want is their team to always be competing, always building toward something. Now, that doesn't mean you'll never rebuild. But they want to understand the strategy and understand the enormous passion and resources and creativity that's going into it.
So our goal is to have a league where 30 teams are always competing. And I think we're increasingly moving closer to that model.
Q. When you see old players, former players critiquing your two-time MVP, are you amused by that or are you bothered or do you think these guys are just old curmudgeons? I'd like to hear where you stand on it.
ADAM SILVER: I'm not bothered by it. I think what I've learned being around this league for a long time is that players, even when they're current players, let alone when they're former players, they're like fans in many ways. They engage in the same discussions we all engage in. And by "we all" I mean as fans, not necessarily as league officials or as journalists. In certain cases some of these legends played with particular players so they feel more able to make certain comparisons.
But I think just listening to some of what Steph Curry has said, I think he has the right attitude. I think that it's different times, different approaches to the game. I think because of rule changes, it is very difficult to compare one generation to another. It's no secret that the game is much less physical. I think for the better. There was a period of time in the league where physical force was paramount in many ways. There were more sort of enforcer-type players in the league.
The Jerry Colangelo committee and then Commissioner (David) Stern were very focused on making the game more wide open, allowing these great athletes to demonstrate their skills on the floor. So I think it's what sports fans do, what journalists do. I enjoy the conversation.
I think people can make judgments for themselves. Clearly there are some people who weigh in who may be bitter. Some not. Some genuinely have a point of view. Some are not as well informed. Some may not be watching as much of the game but still have a view anyway. So I enjoy it.
Q. How far are we from intentional foul Hack-a-Shaq reform?
ADAM SILVER: I think you all know it is my hope that we are not far away from some reform. This is an issue where I'm hoping we can strike some sort of a compromise. I mean, there is no doubt that there are particular teams, particular owners who have spoken out against any change whatsoever. And I also recognize from a competitive standpoint that largely three teams will be the beneficiary of a rule change. There's three players in particular, and everyone knows who I'm talking about, and whatever team they're on, if they're going to play a lot of minutes and they're poor free throw shooters, the ability to hack them away from the ball creates an advantage for the other team.
What our analytics tell us is it's not as big an advantage as some might think, but it's an advantage. And it's my job to look out for the greater good of the game.
I think, first of all, in response to people who say guys have to make their free throws -- and I was one of them. I think I acknowledged to everyone last summer that I was on the fence. What we've seen even since last year is a two and a half times increase off last year of the number of these off-ball fouls, away-from-the-ball fouls, intentional fouls. Looking back just even at the last five years, it's now up 16 times from five years ago.
So on one hand, of course, I want guys to be able to make their free throws. But what you see is even among those three players who are the poorest free-throw shooters of the ones that get hacked the most, something like two-thirds of their free throws still involve plays around the ball. In other words, plays that would not be impacted by a rule change. So they still have on their teams every incentive for them to become better free throw shooters.
One statistic I find fascinating is that if you look back over the last 50 years of the NBA, average percentage of free-throw shooting has remained at 75%. I mean, it's quite remarkable. Slight deviations. It goes 75.2, 74.8, and I'm not sure what that ultimately tells you. It may say that on average it's very difficult to improve free throw shooting and therefore statistically we're always going to have some bad free throw shooters in this league. Then the question is: Is there a compromise? I mean, in order to change a playing rule, it requires two-thirds of the teams voting in favor of it, and the commissioner does not get a vote. So all I have is sort of the bully pulpit to make recommendations to them.
Part of my job, too, is not to just to look at the competition but the business implications as well. I've said it before, for example, when Hack-a-Shaq has done something like more than roughly ten times a game, it adds about 15 minutes to the length of the game. Not only is that something that is bad for our network partners, but for all of the fan research we have shows that the fans hate it. You know, so there may be a compromise in there where we can cut it down significantly. It still remains an advantage for those teams that don't have one of those players or, said differently, a disadvantage to those teams.
But I think this notion that everyone's going to sit around and say the guys just got to make their free throws, what's been demonstrated over the last five years is not only is that not changing significantly -- and there are always individual players that a team can point to, but they almost always regress back to the norm. As one player gets better at free-throw shooting, another gets worse. That's why it stays at 75%.
My view, it's not an attractive part of this game. Obviously years ago, in 1978, we crossed that threshold in terms of principle, because long before I was involved in the league there was a rule change for the last two minutes of the game. So it can't just be guys got to make their free throws. There was an acknowledgment that it doesn't look good in the last two minutes and it unnecessarily prolongs the game and adds an unattractive element.
So now the question is can we take that rule and maybe we don't put it in effect for 48 minutes, but we look at other aspects of the game all, as I said, moving toward a compromise to at least cut it down significantly.
Q. I think anyone who has watched the political process can appreciate not drawing a line in the sand on the North Carolina issue. That being said, there has to be a drop-dead date for moving an All-Star Game. When is it?
ADAM SILVER: Let me begin by saying what I haven't said is that we're not looking at alternatives. We are looking at alternatives. So the critical date for us is are we in a position, if for some reason we don't move forward in Charlotte, to play our All-Star Game somewhere else? We are in the process of looking at other options. At the same time, I don't think it would be productive to draw a line in the sand, and we'd be moving on if I didn't think there were constructive discussions going on in North Carolina right now. You're right. Why prolong it? We would just announce we're going to play our All-Star Game somewhere else, and that's not what's happening. Like I said, people have good will. People from both sides of the aisle and people who have very differing views on this issue are coming together and saying this is now an issue much bigger than North Carolina. As I said, at least the bathroom portion of it is going to be played out in the Federal courts and by experts when dealing with facilities for students.
But I think the community is coming together in North Carolina in a very productive way in recognizing changes should be made. And incidentally, believe me, I don't want to suggest that the NBA is all important. They're doing it for their own reasons. And I think that's the way it should be. Not because the NBA said, Change your law or we're moving our All-Star Game. I know, we're not that big. We're not that important at the end of the day. But one of the core principles, underlying principles of this league is diversity and inclusion. I think people understand that's one of our values. It was a value built from the ground floor up in this league long before I ever got involved in it, and I'm sort of carrying the mantle now. But I know I speak on behalf of our owners, our teams and our players. I think they all feel very strongly that this is a core principle of our league, and that where we choose to celebrate something like an All-Star Game, that those values should be honored.
Q. So when can we look for when this might come to an end?
ADAM SILVER: Realistically, this summer. I don't see we would get past this summer without knowing definitively where we stand.
Q. You mentioned the level of scrutiny on the officials and the Last Two-Minute Report is one thing. But are you comfortable with the added layer of scrutiny they're under when one of their bosses goes on national TV to sort of critique calls that may have been missed in a game without them having a chance to respond or explain themselves or before the process has even begun? And part two, you mentioned the aesthetics of the game and how it's been reinvented. Is it possible that the pace and the force and the speed of the game has in some ways outpaced the traditional officiating techniques and that might be a way to get that number higher than 90%?
ADAM SILVER: Yeah, I'll answer the second part of your question first. I had a team come in the other day and say we should look at a fourth official. And that goes to the core of your question. Maybe the game is so fundamentally different now that we maybe do need to look at a fourth official. So that's something maybe through our Development League or Summer Leagues that we'll take a fresh look at.
Same in terms of techniques and training. Those are things we look at all the time. We talk to the NCAA as well and international leagues to see if they have different approaches, different training.
I was at Stanford University earlier this season and looking at a virtual reality lab where they were talking about how to train officials and other people operating high-pressure situations and try to simulate those situations to increase reaction times and lower blood pressure in those moments.
So those are all things we're working on.
In terms of managers of officials critiquing them, I would only say that everybody has their job, and I think that just in the same way I'm put in a position to come out and defend things we do or criticize things we do, I think the officials understand that. Just to be clear, even in the case of a review, we do use a clear and conclusive standard. Maybe I should make that very clear. When the Replay Center is looking at whether to decide if a call is right or wrong, it's clear and conclusive. In other words, they're being deferential to the call that was made on the floor with the recognition that video, even high definition, still-frame video, is not going to capture everything that happened. And officials have other senses at work when they're on the floor. Obviously, they're hearing things that may not be captured on the video. Sometimes they're literally feeling things with their bodies in terms of what's happening. So they're trying to discern what's really happening on the floor.
So the job is for in replay to be deferential. In this case we have an NBA official, not a management person, but official in the Replay Center who is working with those officials on the floor.
There does come a time where, for example, with the review of flagrants, that then becomes the league office and the Basketball Operations department led by Kiki VanDeWeghe working together with our legal department, working together with our in-house investigators. And there we do get the point of view of the officials.
We interview the officials. We interview the three officials on the floor to find out what they're thinking. We interview the official in the Replay Center. And by the way, I recommend to all of you if you ever have time during the season to go out to Secaucus, New Jersey, and sit in the Replay Center one night. And when the replay feeds start coming in and somebody says go, and then you have 30 seconds, a minute, and then you're hearing on the television, you're hearing your favorite commentator saying what in the world is taking so long, isn't this obvious, and there are three more feeds you haven't looked at yet, it's a very difficult job.
So there's a recognition that they may make mistakes under those high-pressure situations. But we have the opportunity to interview players. So in certain cases, while there is deference to what happened to the decision that's made on the floor, and we still use that clear and conclusive standard, based on interviews with players, they may be telling us things we didn't know, and occasionally there may be some video that is available to us that wasn't available in the Replay Center.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports