The NBA All-Star Game is getting better

The new changes the commissioner made and why they worked

Cy Perry, Junior Opinion Editor

NBA commissioner Adam Silver implemented a new format for the NBA All-Star Game on Oct. 3, 2017, and despite initial skepticism, it has proved to be a good decision.

The 2018 All-Star game was the 67th playing of the annual exhibition between players who have had exceptional seasons from each of the two conferences at the halfway point of the season.

The format changed included a new system by which players were selected to represent their respective conferences. The two conferences, the Eastern and Western, voted two captains to represent each of them during NBA All-Star weekend. LeBron James represented the Cleveland Cavaliers and Eastern conference, while the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry was nominated to pilot the Western conference team.

Allowing the players the freedom to choose their captain and then allowing a captain to draft a team is a unique idea.  It allows for the players to show off their knowledge of the opposing players they play day in and day out throughout the 82 game NBA regular season.”

— Cy Perry

NBA All-Star Weekend consists of five main events. All-Star weekend is a three day event and begins with the NBA Rising Stars game on Friday. This allows the best first and second year players to show off their skills. It’s unlikely a rookie will make the All-Star roster, so this is the leagues way of allowing the younger guys a chance to prove their worth.

Saturday is usually a bigger day than Sunday during All-Star weekend. Three events occur on Saturday night, one of which is the Verizon Slam Dunk Contest. This consists of four of the most superior athletes around the league coming together and competing against one another in one of the more exciting events of the NBA season.

Players perform unique slam dunks in front of four judges who will give the dunks a score. The Slam Dunk contest is usually the anchor of Saturday night and is the final event of the evening.

The second event on Saturday is the JBL Three Point Contest. Eight of the best three point shooters from around the league compete against one another in a contest that requires them to make as many three pointers as they can in a minutes time.

The third event is what is known as the Taco Bell Skills Challenge. This contest consists of players doing a variety of different obstacles on the court. When these challenges ended on Saturday night, the only event left is the All-Star Game itself on Sunday.

The new format mirrors the NHL All-Star game format by allowing each team captain to draft the players that represent each conference. This was drastically different than the previous format which allowed the fans to vote for the players they wanted to represent the conferences.

I was hesitant to say I was pleased with the new format until I watched the game for myself. The game was drastically more intense. It looked as though the teams were more in sync with one another, and it felt like each team was actually playing to win.

In previous years, the lackadaisical pace of the game was like watching a recreational basketball game at a local YMCA — no defense and a tremendous amount of offense. The new format added some excitement and tremendous defensive play throughout the entire game.  Although the final score was 148-145, the game itself was drastically more competitive than years past.

What makes the new format unique is that each captain is allowed to draft players from both conferences. Until the 2018 All-Star game, the two conferences used the best from both conferences to play each opposing conference. This year, each captain was allowed to choose whoever they wanted.

LeBron James received the most All-Star votes so he was awarded the first draft pick.  Stephen Curry was awarded with home team honors and choice of uniforms color. With the first draft pick, James added some fireworks to the discussion by taking Curry’s teammate Kevin Durant.

The Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors have met three consecutive years in the NBA finals, the choice by James to pick Durant with the first pick also added a little bit of drama to the game as well.

Players who make the All-Star game also receive a bonus. The players on the winning side receive $100,000 and the players on the losing team receive $25,000. This gives the players some more motivation to play harder during the game as well.

In previous years, players received an equal amount of pay, which more than likely contributed to the careless effort that most of the previous games entailed for the fans. Although it is unlikely this amount of money would affect some of the more seasoned players who are receiving millions of dollars a season on their contracts alone, it seems to have worked.

Allowing the players the freedom to choose their captain and then allowing a captain to draft a team is a unique idea.  It allows for the players to show off their knowledge of the opposing players they play day in and day out throughout the 82 game NBA regular season. The draft process and new format will both be televised next year again. I was impressed and thought the new format was sufficient in capturing my attention.  I am actually looking forward to the next televised draft as well.