Nothing is going to make the All Star Game perfect.
An exhibition that basically amounts to a car show for the league to flaunt it’s top models is never going to outweigh the concern these guys have for their own health. Nor should it. Nobody is going to go all out, or play lockdown defense, or move the ball like it’s a real game. That’s reality.
Okay so we all get that, right? We understand the above facts and got the well actually‘s out of our system?
Because this is awesome. This is logical, and necessary, and interesting, and all in all a great move.
First of all, at the very least, this incites a little more competition in a game that was getting harder and harder to call a competition in the first place. Because no matter how little you think these guys care, I can promise you they care more about winning money for a charity than they do about “conference pride”. Why? Because “conference pride” is a thing that does not actually exist.
And second of all, this draft will be compelling television. I mean can you imagine the pettiness? The personal beefs that get aired out. The sarcastic applause. The teeth sucking. The shade. Steph drafting all the Warriors and refusing to draft Lillard. LeBron taking Russ before KD. John Wall chirping when someone takes Chris Paul over him. Kevin Love undoubtedly being the last pick despite worse players making the East roster. Someone unexpectedly falling to the bottom of the draft who we hadn’t realize that nobody likes.
At worst, we get a compelling draft that creates some intriguing pairings and fun trash talk. But there’s also the real chance that guys take legitimate offense to how their viewed by their peers and up the intensity of the game. Again… not in a way that will make this the game we all want it to be. But at least in a way that makes it compelling.
The bottom line is, the game got better. It’ll be more competitive, however slightly, and more interesting, even if just in the buildup. Really what I guess we’re all saying right now is, why not? Can’t get worse the way, right? So… let’s give it a shot.
P.S. I don’t think they’ll ditch the basic NBA game format… but it would really make it interesting if they went full playground pick up game format here. Three or four teams. First to 21. Ones and Twos. Win by 2. Call your own fouls. Winner stays on. Mic the guys up and let them go at it. These guys still care about winning. Maybe if you take away the formalities and go back to basics – kind of like the Chris Brickley pick up games that made Hoodie Melo a thing this summer – then the innate competitiveness of wanting to dominate the playground will kick in with these guys. Hard to see the league going that far this quickly. But who knows, right?