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Silver calls Curry, Thompson head injuries a 'freak occurrence'; sees analytics 'arms race'

Brad Penner / USA TODAY Sports

Credit commissioner Adam Silver for being open to change. But don't expect drastic change, only minor tweaks.

In an interview on ESPN's "Mike & Mike," Silver touched on various hot-button topics, including the state of the league's concussion protocol, the length of the regular season, and the prevalence of analytics in today's NBA.

After Golden State Warriors star players Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson underwent concussion tests during the Western Conference Finals versus the Houston Rockets, Silver said he is satisfied with the league's current concussion policies.

In Tuesday's interview, Silver touted the hiring of prominent neurologist Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher as the director of the NBA's concussion program. He also addressed NBA union chief Michele Roberts' proposed investigation of the league's concussion policy, saying he's open to cooperating with the union chief.

Silver referred to both Curry and Thompson suffering head injuries in the playoffs as a "freak occurrence."

Roberts said she was "mortified" after Thompson was cleared to return to action after being kneed in the head in Game 5 against Houston. Thompson was later diagnosed with a concussion, but has since rejoined his team at practice and hopes to be cleared for Game 1 of the Finals on Thursday.

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As for the record-setting, eight-day layoff between the conference finals and the championship round, Silver said both teams have benefited from the extended rest period.

However, the length of the regular season is up for debate.

Responding to a quote from LeBron James about how he feels the season is too long and at risk of becoming "stale," Silver said the league is considering extending the season by one week, as opposed to shortening it, in order to eliminate stretches where teams have to play four games in five nights.

Silver acknowledged the revenue and logistical implications of shortening the season, saying he views a longer season as an ideal solution. Silver has previously proven amendable to change at the players' behest, extending this year's All-Star break so that players could receive additional time off to rest before returning to action.

The third and final discussion point in Silver's interview revolved around the topic of analytics. While Silver recognizes the necessity, and growth, of analytics in today's game, he also acknowledges the human element involved in player analysis.

"There's always going to be that human element in the game," he said, "but I think it's very positive - and I think what you're seeing is you're getting an appreciation for players who may not have been conventionally appreciated."

With so many teams investing in entire departments dedicated to player and game analysis, Silver sees an "arms race" developing within the league, as teams try to gain an extra edge on their competitors.

"I think, ultimately, it's leading to better basketball on the court," Silver said, "which is most important."

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