Sometimes adding a little more spices to a recipe kicks the flavor up a notch.
That is exactly what the NBA had in mind when they entered the 2017-2018 season with adding a brand new format to the historic All-Star Game.
Back in October 2017, right before the season began, the NBA announced that the original format would change from the traditional Western Conference versus Eastern Conference format, and would instead switch to a draft-style layout. In the new format, the team captains would be determined by the most votes received in their respective conference. Then once the starters and reserves were selected, the captains then drafted players to their team.
The change to the All-Star Game comes after the last few years where the game has become less competitive, which in turn takes away from some of the entertainment and viewership.
In the early years of the NBA’s All-Star Game, the players who were selected would try to use the game to show their skills and prove why they were deserving of their selection. As the years went on, teams would use the first half to just have fun. Fancy crossovers, no-look passes, alley-oops and plenty of dunk contest worthy slams. Then once the second half started, players would lock in, the game would become more competitive, and fans would really get to see the talent on display.
In the most recent years however, the All-Star game has just turned into four quarters of Harlem Globetrotting basketball, and fans have become less interested in tuning into the festivities.
This year with the new format though, NBA fans who have been turned off from the last couple of years might want to grab a seat and tune in once again.
The most interesting aspect of this new format is that captains were free to draft from either conference. So this year, fans have the chance to see LeBron James and Kevin Durant as teammates. A collaboration that hasn’t been seen since the 2012 Summer Olympic team.
The one aspect where fans were disappointed, was that the teams drafted by team captains LeBron James and Stephen Curry wasn’t televised.
That is an area in which if this year’s All-Star Game is a success and Commissioner Adam Silver wants to keep this format, he may want to reconsider withholding that from the fans.
Either way, with the change that has been made for this season, it has sparked a lot of interest for basketball fans everywhere and for fans of any sport, when a league makes a change to ignite the fans attention, it puts a lot more eyes on what is taking place. So kudos to the NBA for doing just that.
Written by Mike Molyneaux for CLNS Media and CelticsBlog.