The NBA changed the format of their All-Star Game this season, doing away with the standard East vs. West dynamic and replacing it with a draft. The two players with the most votes in each conference — LeBron James and Stephen Curry — acted as captains and alternated selections, adding a bit more drama and strategy to a game that had grown a bit stale.
After just one iteration of the new format, the results of the change appear promising. Team LeBron narrowly edged Team Stephen in what was one of the more exciting All-Star Games ever.
With the new format likely to stay, NBA commissioner Adam Silver addressed the one complaint, which was that the draft itself was done behind closed doors. He suggested an agreement will be reached to televise the draft for the 2019 All-Star Game, via ESPN:
“I was misinterpreted the other day, because people thought I was diming Steph by saying he didn’t want to televise it. I have no idea whether he wanted to televise it. What he said after the decision came not to televise it, he said let’s give it a chance to see if it works, and then if it works, then we’ll televise it. So, I said I agree with him. But I don’t know whether he was for or against it. By the way, I’ll take as much responsibility. When we sat with the union and we came up with this format, we all agreed, let’s not turn something that’s 100 percent positive into a potential negative to any player. But then maybe we were overly conservative, because then we came out of there, and the players were, ‘We can take it. We’re All-Stars. Let’s have a draft.’ So it sounds like we’re going to have a televised draft next year. But I’ve got to sit with LeBron and all the guys in the union and we’ll figure it out.”
The decision to keep the draft out of the public eye was widely criticized when it was announced. But it was intended to shield the players from unnecessary drama or the indignity of being selected last.
However, if the players are indeed on board with televising the All-Star Game draft, then the NBA season gets that much more exciting for fans as well as profitable for the league, who could turn it into a TV event.
While discussions still need to be held with the union, it’s good to hear that Silver is optimistic that next season’s draft will be televised. Another positive is the several players who spoke out after the 2018 All-Star Game, championing for next year’s selection process to be televised.
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