Blogtable: Thoughts on changes to All-Star Game voting, rosters?
Each week, we ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the most important NBA topics of the day.
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The NBA will abandon the East-West format for this season’s All-Star Game, and instead let captains pick teams. But players will still be grouped by East and West for All-Star voting. How do you feel about all of this?
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David Aldridge: I’m fine with it. The NHL has been successful with a different All-Star Game format (North America vs. the World) in recent years. Anything that helps the NBA’s All-Star Game become more interesting and better played is better than what we’ve seen the last couple of years.
Steve Aschburner: Yawn. Sorry to be so cynical, but there’s only one thing that can goose interest in the All-Star Game. That’s defense, or at least resistance of some mild form to make the offensive maneuverings actually matter. Whether alley-oops or 30-footers, they’re all boring when they’re uncontested. Here’s a better fix: The Warriors-Timberwolves games in China this preseason showed how enthusiastic players can get about a meaningless exhibition when there’s an audience worth impressing. So let’s see the NBA use the extended All-Star break to take the game abroad, to London or Paris or Barcelona, where the foreign venue and excited fans might motivate these guys to sorta, kinda play harder on that other end of the floor.
Shaun Powell: I think this could lead to drama and potentially hurt feelings based on the picking order and politics involved. Does LeBron, if he’s the captain, pick Chris Paul over Kyrie Irving? Would Kevin Durant go with Russell Westbrook over Stephen Curry? Does the last player chosen use it as “motivation” and a sign of “disrespect?” Yes, you know where this is going. It’ll make for a great media day, though.
John Schuhmann: The 2017 All-Star Game was dreadful, so I’m all for changing things up and trying to motivate these guys to play even a lick of defense. As far as the make-up of the rosters, I would have the initial rounds of selection produce 10 guys from each conference, and then add six more players (to get 13 per team), with no restrictions on which conference they come from. So, from each conference, you’d have a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 16 players. That would address the current conference imbalance.
Sekou Smith: I’m fine with any and all changes that inject some fresh energy into the All-Star weekend experience. We’ve seen changes to the Saturday night showcase events over the years, and could probably use more. Allowing the players to have a more interactive experience in picking their own teams should enhance the drama and create some buzz that, quite frankly, has been missing in action in recent years. Part of me wishes we could have used this sort of selection process in previous eras. Can you imagine Magic Johnson and Larry Bird having to pick sides back in the day or Michael Jordan doing it during his day or Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant having to choose sides after their championship days together? The grouping for the voting process is going to be a big deal to some, as it should be. We want to see the best of the best rewarded. Making the Western Conference field is going to be as tough as it has ever been, given the migration of talent during the offseason. But that’s a battle for another day.
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