Throughout his time as NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver has built a nearly-infallible reputation both within the league and in public perception. According to ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski, that persona will be put to the test over the coming weeks.
Appearing on Golic and Wingo, Wojnarowski discussed some of the tougher decisions Silver faces in the coming weeks as the NBA tries to figure out how/if it can resume its season following the coronavirus shutdown. Silver was praised for his decisive decision to shut the league down after Rudy Gobert tested positive (the NBA was the first major professional sports league in the US to halt play), but he could ruffle some feathers when he announces how the league will resume, so saith Woj.
The NBA is reportedly considering several options for restarting the season. One is only teams in contention would return to action. Another is a play-in tournament. Another is a combination of the two. Everything is on the table.
Will they finish the regular season or go right to the playoffs? Where will training camp be for teams located in harder-hit areas like the Nets? How long will teams be allowed to practice before returning to games? What will the playoff structure be? Will bad teams play first while good teams wait around for their play-in tournament to end? How long is each round? There are many questions Silver will have to answer soon and what he says will upset some players, coaches, GMs and team owners.
The reality, however, is every commissioner will be the bad guy in some way as they try and restart or start their seasons. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has already taken plenty of heat for several leaked proposals of how that sport will resume (play in a giant dome!). NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has been in the crosshairs for his decision to press forward with the NFL Draft in the height of the coronavirus spread. Then he/the NFL was praised for bringing some levity to the country.
Likely, that's what will happen with Silver. At first people will question his decision making. Then, depending on how things go, he'll be more fairly judged. That doesn't mean it will be positive judgement, but when we have more facts we'll be able to form a more educated opinion. Silver's reputation as the best commish in sports will be on the line, but at this point he really doesn't have any choice in the matter.