“I Think Where We Can All Do A Better Job…Is Talking More About The Game” | Commissioner Adam Silver Wants NBA Coverage To Be More Like The NFL

NBA commissioner Adam Silver was a recent guest on JJ Redick’s “Old Man And The Three” podcast, and he shared some thoughts about the media coverage of the league. In a wide ranging discussion, Silver said he wanted NBA coverage to “become more NFL like.” Are we finally headed to a different look on our game broadcasts?

Focus On The Actual Game

“Historically, if you asked casual fans, ‘Are you going to watch the NBA Finals?’ They would say, ‘Who’s going to be in it?’ ” Silver explained in an interview with JJ Redick, released on Wednesday. “And if you asked an NFL fan if they were going to watch the Super Bowl, they would never say, ‘Only if the Giants are in it.’ It’s a national holiday.”

Hallelujah! If you know anything about me and how I like to discuss NBA basketball, this is music to my ears!

But first we have to be fair.

You can’t compare a single elimination championship game that lasts for three to four hours to a best-of-seven series played out over 10 or 11 days. It’s not an apples-to-apples comparison.

However, what NBA broadcasts can borrow from football is talking more about the actual game play.

The NBA has never been better as a league. The depth of talent is unparalleled. There is elite play everywhere, and contrary to the opinion of many the style of play isn’t homogenous. Yes, every team shoots three-pointers. But not every team goes about hunting threes the same way.

Team basketball is at its apex right now. If you think all you need is a bunch of superstars and you can dominate the league, think again.

The Game Is Full Of Complexities And Nuance

The NBA’s last two champions, the Denver Nuggets and Golden State Warriors, play a completely different style of basketball.

The Nuggets play a five-out motion offense with a seven-foot two-time MVP center as its fulcrum. With Nikola Jokic at the top of the key with various cuts, screens and motion, defenses have a lot to think about and process in a short amount of time.

The Warriors run a hybrid motion offense that consists of motion weak and principles from the famous triangle offense. They are led by their own two-time MVP, a 6’3″ guard with deft handles who can shoot from 40 feet away. Stephen Curry is as dangerous on the ball as he is off.

How do defenses defend these dynamic offenses? What are ways to tilt the advantage back in the defense’s favor?

That’s just the tip of the iceberg of things that can be discussed on an NBA broadcast or pre-, half-time or post show.

“There’s really complex defenses, what is the offense like? Why is this team losing the way they are? Why is this team successful? Explain what the pick and roll is … explain what’s happening on the court,” Silver said to Redick.

“There is this sense (in football) where the coaches are viewed as these field generals, going out there with these complex schemes. Then in basketball, it’s just about athleticism. That somehow the coach’s job is just to get the guys to play hard. Rather than … these incredibly sophisticated defenses and offenses.”

Of course, the other built-in advantage football has is there’s often :25 seconds in between plays, which allow for this type of analysis. Basketball is a constant flow of action, making it more challenging. But it’s not impossible.

At the dead ball if a player is shooting two or three free throws, why do we need to watch that? Make that screen smaller and go picture-in-picture and break down the action that a team has runs successfully or that a defense has blown up.

The level of basketball played in the NBA is beautiful and nuanced. It deserves to be shown that way.

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