By: Carter Donahue
People across the country gathered around to watch this weekend’s NBA All-Star festivities, and what seems to be the consensus is: NBA All-Star Weekend was kind of boring.
Watching the hyped Aaron Gordan miss several dunks and get eliminated immediately, watching Klay Thompson get bounced out of the first round in the 3-point competition, or even the blatant lack of defense in the All-Star game itself.
I mean, even the best part of the All-Star game, Anthony Davis scoring 52 points and breaking Wilt Chamberlain’s record, was done so in a Lamelo Ball-like way that has already been heavily criticized.
As a certified NBA junkie, the NBA All-Star Weekend should be the epitome of basketball entertainment. And for this all-star weekend, well, I would have rather watched Netflix.
So let’s try and fix it. And let’s start with the events already in place.
When I was growing up, my mom had this magical way to get me to do almost anything. Money/incentives. If I did a chore, I was awarded money or an incentive for later down the road. Simple.
That’s the simple way to improve the events we already have. For the 3-point and dunk competitions, add cash prizes with the attempt to lure in the big names.
And really, the same goes for the All-Star game itself. I don’t like how baseball’s All-Star Game decides who gets home field in the World Series, but it’s an incentive to make the players play hard. The NBA needs an incentive to make the players try and money is my first solution for all of the events. The only other idea I have is to add some kind of benefit or increase the odds in the NBA Draft Lottery for the conference that wins. However, that idea has its flaws.
But the players’ effort isn’t the only reason I want to improve the all-star festivities. Here are my additions to improve upon the mid-season break:
Make All-Star Weekend an entire week.
Nothing irritates me more than deciding to watch an NBA matchup that features two intriguing teams, just to find out that players I want to watch have decided to sit out due to rest. I understand their decisions, and I would probably do the same thing, but it drives me nuts. And not only me, but the 10-year-old kid who gets a rare opportunity to watch his favorite player(s) in person, and is then let down because the stars are resting.
So if we can give the players a longer break for the all-star festivities, then maybe players’ minutes will stay high right before and after the intermission. It also gives the players a longer rest for a crucial last stretch going into the playoffs. And more importantly, this means more events!
(To specify my schedule, NBA teams would play their final games on Wednesday and the All-Star Week will begin Monday, which would go on for an entire week, and then they would resume play the following Thursday.
Any lost time can be added on by beginning the NBA season a week early.
On top of the events that are already in place (All-Star Celebrity Game, Rising Stars Challenge, Skills Challenge, 3-point Shootout, Slam Dunk Contest, D-League All-Star Game, and NBA All-Star Game), these are the events that I would add.
All-Star Game Snub-Off Competition
Every year fans, players, and coaches debate the rosters for the All-Star Game. And it seems that every year there is a highly-debated decision for the last few roster spots. So what I propose is that for the last two roster spots for each conference, there should be a showdown between five players.
These two showdowns for each conference will feature all five players in a 1v1 round-robin tournament. Each player will face each other one time and then be seeded based on their results. After the results are final, the top-seed will then earn an automatic roster spot. This leaves the final four players competing in a small tournament for the final spot.
Hopefully, along with adding entertainment, this will provide clarity and justice to the debated final roster spots.
The 1v1 Challenge will feature all of the All-Stars in a battle for a $500,000 cash prize. Each conference will play its initial tournament to find a winner for the championship game between the best of the East and the best of the West.
Seeding: Four out of the five starters from each conference will have byes, leaving the remaining eight players to be seeded by their respective vote totals. The conferences will each provide a winner from its bracket who will compete for the cash prize.
Each NBA All-Star Starter will be named the captain of his own team. On top of the initial 10 teams, there will be a fan vote for the final six captains, selecting from a pool of the rest of the All-Stars. Once the 16 captains are named, they will partake in a draft. This draft will be seeded randomly and the draftees will be selected from a pool of the entire NBA. The captains will select two players from the today’s NBA and for one substitute, the captain will choose a retired NBA player to be on their roster, pending that player’s approval.
Again, there will be a cash prize of $500,000
The ‘That’s not your game’ Showdown
-A free throw competition featuring DeAndre Jordan, Andre Drummond, Dwight Howard, etc.
-A dunk competition on 9.5 ft rims featuring Isaiah Thomas, Stephen Curry, Kyrie Irving etc.
– An obstacle course (similar to skills challenge) featuring a fan vote for the most clumsy big guys in the NBA
Each winner receives another cash prize
Well, this but with NBA players and less big hits. After all, it is their break.
NBA 2K17 Tournament:
To give the players some rest, Saturday will be physically relaxing featuring flaring emotions and the occasional rage. You all know how 2K is. The 24 all-stars will be joined by a mix of former NBA Hall of Famers and celebrities. These final eight players will be voted in by the fans.
Rule: A player can’t play with his own team.
Sunday: Players arrive – 3v3 draft, fan voting ends for all competitions
Monday: Snub-off Competition
Tuesday: 1v1 Challenge
Wednesday: 3v3 Competition
Friday: ‘That’s not your game’ Competition – 3-point shootout – Dunk Competition,
Saturday: NBA 2K17 Tournament (Rest Day)
Sunday: All-Star Game
NBA games resume following Thursday
If you have any suggestions on other events that should be added to NBA All-Star Weekend or incentives to increase the players’ effort, tweet me @CarterDonahue_ or SportsTalkFeed at @SportsTalkFeed.