NBA ditches East-West format for All-Star game with new playground model led by captains
What's the story
On Tuesday, the NBA along with the NBPA (National Basketball Players Association) announced a new format for the annual All-Star game. For the first time in the history of the league, the All-Star game will not feature a contest between the stars from their respective conference - East vs. West.
Under the new format announced, which will take place at the 2018 All-Star game in Los Angeles, two captains will select their teams from the pool of players voted in as starters and reserves irrespective of conference. Players with the most votes from each conference will be the captains.
The heart of the matter
Despite the changes, a lot of other selection criteria for the game remain the same. The starters for both teams are still voted in - with 50% accounted for by fans, 25% by players and 25% by media - meanwhile the 14 total reserves will be voted in by the 30 head coaches.
Picking the head coaches for either team of the All-Star doesn't change either. The winningest coach in each conference, two weeks prior to the game, will be selected as the All-Star game head coach. He will captain the squad that includes the captain from the same conference. Golden State Warriors' Steve Kerr and Boston Celtics' Brad Stevens are ineligible for this position as they had coached the 2017 All-Star game.
“I’m thrilled with what the players and the league have done to improve the All-Star Game, which has been a priority for all of us,” said NBPA President Chris Paul of the Houston Rockets. “We’re looking forward to putting on an entertaining show in L.A.”
Voting for the All-Star game starts on Christmas Day. TNT will reveal the starters on Jan. 18 while the reserves will be announced on Jan. 25. The time and format on how the captains would select their teams are yet to be announced.
If the Western Conference wasn't strong enough already, the 2017 offseason deals witnessed more high caliber talent moving from East to West. And whether this rule change makes the game more competitive can only be seen on Feb. 18 in Los Angeles (Feb. 19 IST) but it certainly a lot more flair and excitement to a once mundane All-Star selection process.