NBA Makes Playground Style Tweaks to All-Star Game Format
The NBA announced on Tuesday that they have made sweeping changes to the format of their All-Star Game. Now, two captains will choose their teammates from a pool of 22 players selected as All-Stars. The captains of the two teams will be the leading vote-getters in the Eastern and Western Conferences. LeBron James and Stephen Curry were the leading vote-getters in their respective conferences last season.
While the East-vs.-West format has formally been ditched, there will still be 12 players from each conference in the game. The voting process is the same as it was last season. Five players from each conference will be voted in as starters, with fan vote being worth 50 percent, while player and media votes are worth 25 percent apiece.
The seven reserves for each team will still be selected by the head coaches for both All-Star teams.
The new format will allow current teammates to go against each other in the game, while also allowing players from the same conference to play against one another, for a change.
Formal details of the All-Star draft have not yet been announced. However, starters will be announced on January 18, while the reserves will come out a few days later on January 23. The game is set to take place on February 18 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles.
The league and players’ union – specifically union president Chris Paul – worked together to come up with the new format. The changes have been on the table for the last several years. The aforementioned voting system was put into place for the first time starting last season.
Paul, who is entering his first season with the Houston Rockets, issued a statement that said, “I’m thrilled with what the players and the league have done to improve the All-Star Game, which has been a priority for all of us. We’re looking forward to putting on an entertaining show in L.A.”
Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan also played a huge role in the move.
Another new facet of the All-Star Game is the charity aspect. Each team will choose a national or Los Angeles-area charity where donations from the game itself will be directed.
Coaches are to be determined the same way as in the past. The head coach whose team has the best record in each conference two weeks before the All-Star Game will coach the All-Star teams. Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr and Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens are ineligible, as they coached in the game last season.
This is just the latest in a series of alterations the NBA has made recently with the fan experience in mind. Earlier, the league made scheduling and rule adjustments that should reduce the number of star players sitting out of key games in order to rest. The league also reduced the number of timeouts each team will have, which should speed up what have been interminable end-of-game situations in the past.
The league also reserves the right to fine teams that they believe are in violation of the new player resting rules.
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