The Phoenix Suns’ potential to play basketball games again this season is still up in the air, but a recent General Manager survey didn’t help much.
General Managers around the NBA took a survey about how the league should return to play, and it is rife with self-interest. Perhaps it should be this way, and this is no surprise. I don’t know where Phoenix Suns GM, James Jones, voted, but I can almost certainly tell you where he didn’t vote.
16 General Managers voted to jump straight into the playoffs, keeping the traditional East-West format. You might glance at that stat and think, “That’s a majority, so that’s probably what they’ll do.”
But when you realize exactly 16 teams make the playoffs and would continue to play in this format while the other 14 do not, then I can tell you very quickly which 16 GMs voted for this option.
All teams, including the Phoenix Suns, voted in their own self-interest.
The other choices in the question were:
• Resume the regular season with all 30 teams followed by a play-in tournament (8 votes);
• Go straight to the playoffs with either a play-in tournament or a World Cup-style group stage (5 votes);
• Resume the regular season with all 30 teams and then go straight to the playoffs (1 vote).
The other 14 teams clearly want to play, the question is what is the best format?
Luckily, there were survey questions on that too. The most pertinent of which was how many teams should be involved in a playoff-plus format. There were 15 votes for 20 teams, seven votes for 24, five for 18, and three for 22.
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Again, I don’t where James Jones cast his lot, but it was almost certainly for 24 teams because that is the only scenario where the Phoenix Suns would be eligible to play.
There were a series of other questions surrounding additional roster spots and the goal wrap-up date, all of which showed more split decisions.
My takeaway is that General Managers are a bad group to survey for any type of unbias feedback. They are always going to vote for what is in their best interest, as well they should. No one expects Jones to vote for going straight to the playoffs and effectively ending his team’s season.
Similarly, the Orlando Magic, who are barely hanging on to the 8th seed in the East, shouldn’t want any play-in teams potentially knocking them out of this spot.
Don’t get me wrong. It is good to solicit some feedback from teams, but it will be interesting to see how much these survey results weigh on the commissioner.
I can tell you the one question that would receive a unanimous vote from everyone who has ever watched an NBA game in their life: Do you envy Adam Silver’s decision? 100%: No.