The NBA All-Star Game is Sunday night and, like most all-star games, it is missing any excitement. It is time for a radical idea for the NBA All-Star Game.
There have been many recommendations as to how to fix it. They have included everything from drafting teams, paying more money to the winners and even giving home-court advantage to the winning conference. While some of these plans may have some merit, they still miss the point.
The current game is no better than watching a player shoot baskets in a gym alone. There is no defense until the final minutes and only if the game is close. The game comes down to a dunk fest. While dunks are great during the game, they lose their impressiveness when the other players are just standing around. There are 10 players on the court but they are hardly playing a game that most of us recognize.
A new idea needs to be added that will add some excitement to the weekend’s events.
The All-Star Weekend events are great, it is just the game itself that is so bad. First, ditch the traditional game altogether. The D-League and Rising Stars games can stay. Also the skills, dunk and 3-point contest will remain. The Shooting Stars contest and celebrity game are fine as well.
Instead of the traditional game they can replace it with one of two options; either a two-on-two or one-on-one game. While the players are willing to stand around during a full game, their pride would come into play with a more in-your-face competition. Bragging rights would really motivate the players to play their best.
Right now the All-Star Game does not prove anything. Does the game’s MVP really matter? Great, you were the best player when people barely play. It is not impressive. But with either of these options, the excitement is ramped up.
In both formats there would be an elimination ladder. Games could go to 11 points or six minutes, whichever happens first. The winners would advance and the losers are out. Pride and ego should be enough to lure the players into putting forth a full effort. Just in case though, tossing in a huge prize for the winner(s) would also help. Perhaps tie it with a charity as well. Each player or duo that wins money also wins some for a charity of their choice.
Fan voting is generally a bad idea. This is how you end up with Kevin Garnett starting the All-Star Game when he really does not even deserve a spot on the roster. But, fan voting is thought of as a way to keep people engaged. With that in mind there are a few options to keep the fans involved.
-All-Star spots will be selected by coaches, media and players. This would go to the 24 best players, regardless of conference. The roster would include eight guards, 10 forwards/centers and six at-large spots. If the NBA wants to give fans a voice then they can have the above select the first 22 players. Fans would then be given the chance to vote for the final two roster spots.
-Once the 24 roster spots are filled, the fans then get to rank the top eight players. This ranking would act as the seeding for the one-on-one tourney. Those eight would get a first-round bye. The remaining players would then enter a random drawing that will set the first-round matchups. There are a few reasons for this method. First, it keeps the fans engaged. Secondly, the NBA does not want Bryant vs. James in the first round.
You would still get good matchups in the first round though. James would easily be a top-eight seed, but teammate Chris Bosh may not be. Would Griffin and Chris Paul both make the top eight? How about Bryant and Dwight Howard? A drawing could make those first-round games. Also as the drawing happens the rest of the bracket would be set. This could also set up some intriguing second rounds matchups as well.
–In the case of a two-on-two event, the fans would rank the top 12 players. As part of the All-Star Saturday events a lottery draw would take place to select their playing partner. Again this keeps fans involved, but it prevents fans from making a super team of Durant and James as well. Once the teams are set, a drawing determines the opening round matchups. In this case, four teams would be in a lottery to win an opening round bye.
-Another option would be to make both versions completely random. The two man team could be drawn the night before to allow some strategizing beforehand. The solo games would be drawn on the spot with the two players starting their match seconds after the drawing.
Now some might argue that in the two-man format the players should be divided up so that there is a big man and smaller player on the same team. While not a horrible idea, it would take away from some of the intrigue. How much fun would a duo of 6’3” Kyrie Irving and 6’0” Chris Paul be as they faced off against 7’1” Tyson Chandler and 7’0” Brook Lopez. It would bring a completely different dynamic to the game.
The traditional version of the All-Star Game is broken. It really is an embarrassment to even call it a game at this point. With either one of these two ideas, the gamesmanship would be back. Players would be more into the game, fans would go nuts over the possible matchups and the NBA would make crazy money.
Fans are always debating who is the best player? Having an All-Star event like this would allow them to have a real answer to that question.
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