Revamping the NBA All-Star Game
The NBA All-Star game is a thing of the past.
In bygone eras, many a viewer was denied access to nationwide talent via technological limitations.
But technology has advanced aggressively in the past few decades.
Now, viewers can watch any game, any team, and any player whenever and however they please.
No longer is the All-Star game needed to illuminate fans on the East Coast fans about players on the West Coast and vice versa.
You can be a hard core Knicks fan in the heart of Manhattan and stay up past your bed time to watch a regular season Warriors-Thunder game.
The intended purpose of the All-Star game has been rendered all but moot, but don’t expect these exhibitions to go away any time soon. There's too much money invested in these things to even considering doing away with them.
Besides, the game does have a moral achievement to accompany its economic impetus.
It’s not that it doesn’t draw well. Last year’s game in Toronto was the most highly watched on any NBA All-star Game since 2013.
But as the old saying almost goes, if it ain’t broke, that doesn’t mean you can’t fix it.
As well as the All-Star game draws, it still has a stale feel to it. Players just won't try on defense, because hardly any of them are selected for their defense. They also won't stop dumb stunts, including the occasional free throw slam dunk attempt.
To be frank, there's no reason to even try changing these. It's supposed to be an exhibition, after all. It’s fun to see LeBron throw down earth-shattering dunks or Steph Curry take half-court threes.
But hell, isn't that what the skills competition is supposed to feature?
It's precisely for this reason that the NBA should consider revamping their All-Star game to make the game look less like an NBA game and more like the party it's become.
Instead of wasting time on original ideas, the NBA can easily take from some All-Atar innovations by the other leagues.
Change 1: Go from 5-on-5 to 3-on-3.
The NHL going to a 3v3 format was a big success last season. The principle of more open space can give ball handlers like John Wall more room to show off their ankle-breaking skills. Massive slam dunkers like Blake Griffin would have more court to get a greater amount of speed.
Change 2: Split a game into two 12-minute halves and play three of them.
Obviously with only 3 dudes on the court, they're gonna get tired more quickly. I considered solving this problem with live substitutions, such as in hockey, but I think that's too chaotic a solution. It seemed fair that halving the number of players on the court would equal halving game durations.
And the NHL was spot-on with this format. Dudes who just aren't into it -- and they exist, as we've all seen -- can go one-and-done on the day. The two surviving teams will have place more of a premium on winning.
Change 3: There will be 4 teams of 6 players.
Among the elected all-stars, four team captains will be voted on by NBA fans.
As with previous NFL All-Star games, these captains will select from the remaining all-stars to fill out their teams. No longer will players be limited to teaming with dudes in the same conference, and wouldn't that solve a huge personality crisis year!
You could have a situation, for example, where John Wall builds an all-former Kentucky team.
Adam Silver has previously considered the idea of a midseason tournament. Why not do it during the All-Star game?
As in the NHL, a big cash prize isn't an incentive in itself. But why not put it to the winning team’s charity of choice or something in that nature?
Great PR. The NBA cares.
The NBA All-Star game could use a face lift, and it would be accepted by the fans.
As long as big name and talent dudes go, there will be an audience.