Getty Images

NBA commissioner Adam Silver held his annual All-Star Weekend press conference on Saturday in Indianapolis. As usual, he addressed a wide range of topics, including the league's new 65-game rule for award eligibility, the offensive explosion in recent years and the relationship between players and referees. 

Here's a closer look at some of the key takeaways from Silver's comments:

Silver 'not sure' if it's time to separate supermax from awards

As of this season, players must appear in 65 games to be eligible for major honors such as MVP and All-NBA teams. The new rule has generated plenty of debate, in part because of how it impacts' players contract incentives -- most notably, the supermax extension. 

Players must have won MVP in any of the three previous seasons, or have made an All-NBA team (first, second or third) and/or won Defensive Player of the Year in the most recent season or two of the three previous seasons to be eligible for a supermax. With the new threshold, there's a very real scenario where a player falls short by a game or two, gets eliminated from All-NBA contention and threby misses out on tens of millions of dollars. 

There has already been a push to de-couple contract incentives from awards that are determined by the media, and the 65-game rule has only added fuel to that fire. Silver, though, said he is "not sure" if it's time to do that. 

"As you know, a lot of thought went into the 65-game demarcation," Silver continued. "Not only was it collectively bargained with the players, but we spent extensive time leading up to collective bargaining talking to all the various constituencies in the league, most importantly the coaches or general managers, individual players directly, and as was built into your question, the notion was we needed to further incentivize players, particularly star players, to play more games.

"So I'm not ready to say that it isn't working so far. I can tell you that the number of games that players have participated in is up this season, and interestingly enough, injuries are actually down. Whether that's meaningful data yet, I don't know. I think the right time to take a further look at this rule is at the end of the season when we see -- sort of at least have a year under our belt."

Silver 'pleased' with state of game amid offensive explosion

The NBA's scoring boom has continued this season. Already we've seen Joel Embiid and Luka Doncic reach the 70-point mark, the Boston Celtics are on pace to record the highest offensive rating ever (120.8) and players and coaches around the league routinely complain about how difficult it is to play defense these days. 

Despite the league trending ever more towards offense, Silver said he is "pleased with the state of the game," and noted the league's main objective is to create a competitive environment. 

"I think there's a lot happening here, and I've talked to a lot of coaches and a lot of players about it," Silver said. "I think, first of all, the skill level is off the charts. I think what we're seeing is now in this league every player at every position has to be able to shoot the basketball.

"You're seeing this global pool of talent coming into the league, some of the best athletes in the world, who can, frankly, just shoot the lights out. I think that's partly what's responsible for the increased scoring. I disagree with people who feel that teams aren't playing defense. You've been covering this league a long time; the defensive intensity is there. Defensive players are asked to cover much larger areas of the court than they had to historically."

Silver did, however, admit that the league will continue discussing the matter internally and with players and coaches to determine if any rule changes regarding defense will come into play. 

Players, refs need to communicate better

With each passing year, the relationship between players and officials seems to grow more strained. Already this season there have been numerous massive fines handed out to players and coaches alike for publicly criticizing the refs. Mike Brown's laptop rant and Anthony Edwards' "cheating" comments stand out. 

To that point, Silver said there is "a real willingness on behalf of the officials as well to do better," and stressed that both parties need to communicate better. 

"I think what makes me most frustrated are precisely issues you're referring to – the communication issues sort of between players and officials," Silver said. "I feel that's an area we should be able to do a better job, both ways. I put that on the category of, as you said, respect for the game.

"I think it's easy to say Respect for the Game. I think people recognize that how players -- how the communication works, it's not a typical workplace. We have to take into account the high stress they're under. But it's something that all of us, even if we're not basketball experts, are in a position to judge when we see that dynamic, and particularly now when so many cameras, so much high-fidelity audio, we're able to pick up a lot of what's being said. There just has to be a two-way sense of respect. I'm sympathetic to the frustration and feel it's an area where we can make progress."

League 'reassessing' G League Ignite 

In 2020, the NBA founded G League Ignite, a developmental program with a team that competes in the G League. To this point, 10 Ignite players have been drafted, including top-three picks Jalen Green and Scoot Henderson. This season, though, has been a real struggle. They are 2-19 and a number of players have seen their draft stock drop.

When the NBA started the Ignite, it gave players a different pathway to professional basketball and an ability to earn money immediately out of high school. Now that NCAA players can generate income through NIL deals, the alternate pathways aren't nearly as enticing. 

It's no surprise, then, that Silver admitted the league is "reassessing" the Ignite program. "I'm not sure what the future of Team Ignite will be, because before there was a hole in the marketplace that we thought we were filling before doing that, and now my focus is turning to earlier development of those players," Silver said.

He went on to give a longer answer on how player development needs to change. 

"If you're seeing now, what we're seeing in terms of that close to 30 percent of the league, players born outside the United States, it's clear that the development is very different in many of those programs outside the United States, more of a focus on practice, less of a focus on games, which seems to be the opposite of many of the youth programs in the United States," Silver added.

"I think that now we've begun discussions with the NCAA, the vast majority of the top players will play in college and never play in the NBA, of course, so we have a common interest in just improving the game, developing players, developing -- players, there's no question, they're coming into the league incredibly skilled, but that doesn't necessarily translate to being team basketball players. And then what I'm hearing from some of those same coaches that may be complaining about inability to play defense is that these players are not as prepared as I'd like them to be, particularly as very high draft picks."