Let’s Change the NBA All-Star Weekend Again!
NBA All-Star weekend has come and gone. Fans flocked from around the world to watch Team LeBron vs Team Stephen. This was the first year that put all of the players into one pool and split them up into two separate teams, marking a change in the game for the first time since it was introduced in 1951. For years, it was always the top players from each conference playing against each other for bragging rights. In the past it was great, but recently it turned into a joke instead of something fun to watch. Clearly the NBA took notice and instituted a change. This ended up working out well and many fans enjoyed the new format. Even though it was a success, it does not mean that other changes cannot be made.
What if next year instead of the traditional All-Star Game, the league introduced a 3-on-3 tournament? It can keep the East/West format of the past and have two brackets, with four teams representing the East and West respectively. This format would keep the same number of all-stars that are currently announced each year. The teams would be drawn randomly and there could be a captain system like this past year, but having eight captains instead of two could get a little complicated and sounds like a logistical headache for officials. Another option would be to have the coaches come up with the four teams per conference. If the coaches made the decision it would make it that three centers did not end up on the same team. Therefore it would be more evenly matched.
The tournament games would be similar to the FIBA 3-on-3 games. (which will be featured at the 2020 Olympic games): half court games, a conventional NBA two-point shot equals one point and a three-point shot equals two points. It is a street ball fans dream. Games will be played to 21 and teams must win by two, which differs from FIBA rules, but is generally accepted street ball.
Games would start with a coin toss and there will be no jump balls. If there is a held ball situation, the team playing defense would automatically get possession. Just like on the playground, when the ball hits the rim the defensive team would be required to take the ball past the three-point arc on the court. If the ball does not hit the rim the take back would not be required. Overall, it would be a fun way to have an all-star weekend. The NHL switched to a 3 on 3 tournament for their All-Star Game and it was a great success with a lot of action.
The tournament would be single elimination and would showcase stars in a fun atmosphere. With less people on the court there are more opportunities for exciting dunks, passes, and dribbling skills. This would also save the NBA some money by only having to give out a prize to three players that win the tournament. Although the current format was fun, having a tournament would add extra drama to the event.
Another element that could be added to all-star weekend next year is the incorporation of the NBA 2K League. NBA players would be able to show the NBA 2K skills by participating in some exhibition 2K games with or against some of the top NBA 2K players around the world. This would be a great way to increase the exposure of the league and watch the NBA’s best play the game.
There can be matches with 2K league players, against other gamers, or just NBA players against each other. On the contrary it would be fun to see some of the all-star NBA 2K players actually play some basketball. This element may fail because it is not as easy for a gamer to show their hoops skills than it is for an athlete to transition to video games. The more realistic option is having NBA players play some exhibition 2K games during the weekend. The NBA 2K League may have its own all-star game, but it never hurts to get more exposure during all-star weekend.
Overall, the NBA is taking the right steps to making all-star weekend more exciting for fans. It was a nice touch having a draft this season, but it needs to be televised so fans can watch. The next step to making it more of an event than just a game and some contests would be to incorporate the all-stars into a 3-on-3 tournament.
This would not happen right away; the current format was a hit so they would not push it out after just one year. If for some reason the draft format does not work in the future then a 3-on-3 tournament would be a great way to change the weekend. Also, it is important for the NBA and the NBA 2K League to have exposure during all-star weekend. Incorporating the game into some event would be a way to get fans interested that have no idea about the NBA 2K League.