Finally, an NBA commissioner is doing his job




 

It's difficult to imagine that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has needed this many years to finally do his job properly, or that David Stern never did it, but it has finally happened.

Both conference finals have gone seven games, which means it has been 39 years since the league so many people believe fixes its results has finally succeeded in the delicate art of stretching series to seven games.

For the first time since 1979, when the Seattle SuperSonics, Phoenix Suns, Washington Bullets and San Antonio Spurs contrived to throw the maximum number of games (according to research from ProBasketballReference.com and the AALPSC; Amalgamated American Lunatics, Paranoids and Shadow-Chasers), we have what so many people in Internetvania is the league's true mandate - to extend series to their maximum number of games so to get the most money for themselves and their media partners.

And hey, these days, why wouldn't you trust an army of the laziest thinkers, the reflexively suspicious and the certifiably deranged?

Between those glorious days when the NBA last understood how to make more games, there have been 585 playoff series, of which 146 went the maximum number of games, whether they be best-of five (the first round until 2003) or best-of-seven. This is not even a 25 percent success rate, worse than James Harden's three-point shooting percentage in the Western Conference Finals, and even worse than Process megahero Sam Hinkie's winning percentage as general manager in Philadelphia.

This is, in short, shoddy work of the first magnitude - if you think maxing out series is the driving goal so many people believe it is.

And since convincing people who believe this that they might be wrong is akin to licking Kilauea clean, we have decided instead to ask the question, "Why hasn't Silver done something about this?" His seven-game percentage is worse than Stern's, and worse than Stern predecessor Larry O'Brien's. What is he playing at?

And worse still, how will this record of GLOT (games left on the table; under Silver alone, 105 of 518 potential playoff games have gone unplayed) play with his 30 employers if the league's proposed integrity fee on legalized gambling is approved?

This is the kind of gross inefficiency that modern math-made magnates would find inexcusable; hell, it is the kind of gross inefficiency that Arnold Rothstein would have found inexcusable.

So the conference finals maxing out may be a sign that Silver and the NBA is finally understanding that the real key to long-term success is inventory management.

Either that, or the league is just teasing its one-head-multiple-voices constituency with what is actually just a competitive anomaly created through the confluence of four excellent but flawed teams. The Warriors have had a difficult time navigating their own boredom, the Rockets have been trying too hard to turn back the clock a decade, the Celtics are too young for the rigors of road uniforms, and the Cavaliers are too LeBroniac.

But they have done seven games, and everyone remembers with horror the metronomic excellence of last year's Golden State team, which played only one game more than the minimum and banished 11 potential games to the theoretical realm.

Still, nobody respects a small sample size quite like a conspiracy nut, and these conference finals have been like Christmas with a side of Mardi Gras and Free Liquor Fridays.

In short, we fully expect a sweep in the Finals, because the league doesn't fully get it yet. But once they get that integrity fee, it probably will. I mean, what else are convenience charges for if you can't slap them on everything in sight -- including all those unplayed games the game-fix aficionados seem to be braying for so loudly?

























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