The 2018 NBA All-Star Game will be different the ones that came before it. For the first time, conference and even team allegiances will mean nothing.
“The NBA All-Star Game will switch formats this season, as two captains will select the teams regardless of which conferences the players play in, the league announced Tuesday,” ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported. “The players who win the fan vote from each conference will be the captains.”
Windhorst also noted that while the conferences won’t be in play for the game itself (aside from the captains), they will still impact who goes to the game.
“There will still be 12 players selected from each conference for the game in Los Angeles on Feb. 18. Five players from each conference will be selected as starters with fan vote being worth 50 percent, player vote worth 25 percent and media vote 25 percent. Seven reserves for each team will be picked by each conference’s head coaches.”
It’s certainly an interesting concept. Similar tactics have been used by the NHL and NFL in the past. Washington Nationals star Bryce Harper has suggested a similar idea for MLB.
The idea of star teammates possibly playing against each other will certainly add some intrigue. But ultimately, the NBA All-Star Game has a problem that’s nearly unfixable. The game itself is nothing more than a light scrimmage. Players rarely even pretend to play defense.
Really, we don’t blame them for that. The last thing anyone would want to see would be a star player getting hurt in a meaningless game. So, it’s difficult to fault anyone for letting an opponent drive to the hoop and dunk with no opposition. But it doesn’t necessarily make for a terribly exciting game.
In all fairness, this could create great rivalries down the line. Nobody ever liked being the last player picked on the playground, right? That’s something that hasn’t happened to NBA players a lot in their lives, especially NBA All-Stars.
Given the frequent petty nature of NBA players anyway, it would certainly be fun to see a playoff series between the last player picked going against the captain who repeatedly ignored him. Even if it doesn’t add much to the All-Star Game, we’ll gladly call this a net positive if it adds some punch to the playoffs.