The NBA All-Star game this year underwent some changes to the format of the game itself. The inaugural feature was allowing the captains to draft players who were announced as all stars for this year. In previous events, they were grouped based on conference.
Rockets forward James Harden is a fan of the new All-Star draft format.
“In middle school I was the last pick. So, to be the number one pick in the All-Star game, that’s what I’m here for,” -James Harden
LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers) and Stephen Curry (GS Warriors) were the selected captains. The winner of the game got to donate money to charity, one chosen by the respectful captain. James chose After-School All-Stars, a Los Angeles based charity dedicated on giving children a place to play and relax during the day. Curry chose Brotherhood Crusade, an organization that provides help and services to undeserved youth.
The teams drafted are below:
Starter: Kyrie Irving
Starter: Kevin Durant
Starter: LeBron James
Starter: Anthony Davis
Starter: Russell Westbrook
Starter: Stephen Curry
Starter: James Harden
Starter: DeMar DeRozan
Starter: Giannis Antetokounmpo
Starter: Joel Embiid
The draft was not televised, although League Commissioner Adam Silver hopes to have it televised by next year. The game itself was, almost as advertised. The early quarter, saw lazy defense, a couple backhand lobs, and a few dunks. Not very exciting. What happened next, is exactly what fans and NBA officials everywhere wanted. LeBron brought up the intensity on a missed call, arguing with the referee, he got fouled multiple times in successive plays, and started to bring the heat the past All-Star games were missing. Trailing 146-145, Team LeBron called a timeout and head coach Drew Casey designed a play. “The structure of the play, the initial thrust of the play worked out perfectly,” Casey said. “We had the floor spaced the way we wanted to have. That’s the main thing you want with great players is great spacing.” Russell Westbrook drove to the basket, drawing two defenders, and passed to Kyrie Irving who was cutting baseline. Irving also drew the attention of two defenders who turned their back on James who snuck into the paint undetected. Irving passed to James, and James made a left-handed layup over defender Draymond Green. With little time left, Team Curry could not get a shot off in time before the clock expired. LeBron won MVP honors, and a select amount of money was donated to his Charity, After School All Stars.
The game itself, was an accomplishment.
“I give it an A,”- Stephen A. Smith
This year had hit the lottery in getting players a reason to win. Something that, despite the efforts by league officials and often players themselves, had always failed upon.