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INDIANAPOLIS – NBA commissioner Adam Silver has defended the league’s rule that players must compete in 65 games to be eligible for prestigious and sometimes lucrative awards.

“I’m not ready to say it’s not working yet,” Silver said Saturday at the annual NBA All-Star Weekend news conference. “I can tell you that the number of games that players have been involved in this season is going up and, amazingly, injuries are actually going down.

“Whether that’s still meaningful information, I don’t know. I think the right time to take a closer look at this rule is at the end of the season when we are at least a year under our plan. “

This is the first NBA season where players can miss just 17 games and still be considered for awards, such as Player of the Year, or selections to All-NBA teams. Reigning MVP Joel Embiid is ineligible to win the award this season because of a series of minor injuries, followed by surgery to repair a meniscus tear.

Tyrese Halliburton, a hometown All-Star this year, is battling a nagging hamstring injury to stay on the court to make the All-NBA team, raising his contract with the Indiana Pacers from $205 million to $245 million.

Silver said Saturday that the 65-game rule, agreed to by the players’ union, was implemented “because we need to encourage players, especially star players, to play more games.”

This season, 16 of the NBA’s top 20 scorers (basically the best players) and 35 of the top 50 players have appeared in at least 45 games during the All-Star break, which is significantly higher than last season.

According to the official of the league, the number of games missed due to injuries of star players this year has decreased by 25 percent compared to last season. There was an 18 percent decrease in games missed due to injury among all starters.

Silver, who made his comments in the Indianapolis Colts locker room where Saturday night’s All-Star festivities were taking place at Lucas Oil Stadium, also said he was “excited about the state” of the NBA game, citing historic milestones. Results in games on a nightly basis.

The Pacers own the league’s top-rated offense, averaging nearly 124 points per game, and the league average is 115.6 points per game – the most since 1970. In the last two seasons, four players have scored 70 points in a game.

“I want to dispel any notion that the league feels or the league office feels that high-scoring games are good in the abstract,” Silver said. “I think what we need is competitive games. … The skill level is off the charts.

“Any player at any position has to be able to shoot the ball. … You’re seeing this international talent pool coming into the league (with some of the best athletes in the world) who can really light it up. I think that’s partly to blame for the scoring.”

Silver speech player cases with references

Silver also addressed the increasingly contentious relationship between the league’s players and coaches with umpires.

The fight has been frequent this season, but never drew more attention than when two-time MVP Nikola Jokic from Serbia was ejected in the second quarter on Serbian Heritage Night in Chicago on Dec. 12, league sources later confirmed. The Denver Nuggets star called the official Musa Dagger “mother——,” but the challenging optics of it all prompted another round of discussion about how the game should be called.

“Communication issues between players and officials — I feel like that’s an area where we can do a better job both ways,” Silver said. “Like you said, I put it in the honor of the game category.”

“The new NBA executive director (Andre Iguodala) has really encouraged me to talk about these issues as a partner. He understands the pressure,” Silver continued. “He understood the issue.

“I think there is also a real desire to do better on behalf of the authorities. I think this is a real focus area for us to work on. … It should just be a two-way respect. I’m sorry for the disappointment and feel it’s an area where we can make progress.

The G League ignites the future

Silver also added that the NBA is “in the process of reevaluating” the G League Ignite franchise, a minor league team created by the league for high school dropouts who don’t want to play in college. After a successful first season, the Ignite backtracked the past two seasons, as a new college rule required athletes to be paid while playing for their schools.

Silver said the focus now is on early development for American players, noting that 30 percent of NBA players come from outside the United States.

“It’s clear that the development in most programs outside of the United States is very different, more action-oriented and games-oriented, which seems to be the opposite of youth programs in the United States,” Silver said. . “We have started discussions with the NCA. … There’s no question (the best American players) are coming into the league with incredible skill, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into being great team basketball players.

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