Adam Silver: Friend or Foe?
When David Stern retired, the we lost an ally who was willing to risk his personal legacy and go against decades of NBA history in order to give us a fighting chance to keep our team. Stern took an excessive amount of criticism from media and fans around the country alike when the NBA announced they would purchase the Hornets, and that ridicule continued throughout the seemingly never ending ordeal to actually secure an owner.
I’ll never forget his smile at the press conference when he, Governor Jindal and Mayor Landrieu announced that Tom Benson had officially purchased the franchise with the intention of keeping it in New Orleans.
Stern’s departure also means that the Pelicans have lost their closest ally in NBA office. Benson helped out Stern keep the team in Nola, and in return Stern helped Benson get an All-Star game, a painless rebrand, and of course the number one pick (am I talking about rigging the lottery or vetoing the trade? Both. Duh) For obvious reasons these two get along, and when things need to get done, they’ve seemingly gotten done.
Well, today we need something done.
Anthony Davis needs to represent us in the All-Star Game.
The reasons for choosing Davis are numerous. He was the lone player on Team USA who hasn’t already been an All-Star. He’s the only guy in the league averaging 20-10 and 3 blocks. Speaking of blocks, he leads the league. The man known as Unibrow also has a PER is comfortably in the top 10 in the league on any given day.
This guy isn’t Tim Duncan, either. He’ll jump three feet in the air and dunk on your face. He’ll go coast to coast and dunk on your face. Mr. Davis plays excellent basketball, but he can also ball. Any time he steps on the floor is a night where the top three plays on SportsCenter could all be one person.
Branching out, he’s at the bare minimum one of the future superstars of the league. Not many players put up numbers like he does at any point in their career, let alone at the age of 20. In five years this guy is going to be all over video games, the internet, national TV, and even FaceTwitGram™. It makes a ton of sense to promote him to the spotlight, especially since he’s so far been a poster child for how the league wants players to behave.
Did I mention Davis is playing plays for New Orleans, ya know, the host of the damn game? New Orleans, might I add, is currently unrepresented. That’s some weak sauce.
There’s not a long history of commissioners choosing local players as replacements for the team, but then again, Adam Silver doesn’t have a long history of doing anything as the commissioner.
I ran through a few of the alternatives, keeping in mind that Anthony Davis is having a season that really deserves to be compared to historical NBA greats, not just his contemporaries.
As I expected, going through the numbers of Mike Conley, DeMarcus Cousins, and DeAndre Jordan showed quality play, but nothing quite like what Davis is doing. When I looked a little closer into Goran Dragic, though, I found that he’s also doing something quite extraordinary. Add in that the Suns have so far surpassed all but the most optimistic projections, Goran being a huge part of the reason why, and it’s not so clear that Davis is a lock.
In the coming days we’ll learn just something about Adam Silver, for better or worse.
I think moving forward the biggest factor to whether Silver is a friend of New Orleans is profitability. The Pelicans are currently profitable which is a big reason WHY Stern kept the team here. He knew with a solid ownership group that this team could make money.
Why was this important to Stern?
Because all the other small-markets are bitching about how they CAN'T be profitable. That they "Need Help!"
Well Stern could now point to New Orleans and say, "Guys look at the smallest market in the league -- they are profitable. Get your shit together."
On top of that I think Stern was fond of the city. So that helps.
So if the Pelicans can continue to show they are profitable, display growth in the market and build their fan-base then I think Silver will look at them much in the same way Stern did: The guinea pig for the NBA Small-Markets.