Following the lackluster showing that saw Anthony Davis shatter the All Star Scoring record in New Orleans, the NBA has updated its approach to the mid-season exhibition ahead of the 2018 season.
The NBA announced on Tuesday, October 3, 2017 that it plans to shift to a conference-less model for the 2017-18 NBA All Star Game, favoring a tradition originated on schoolyards across the country. Keeping the fan, player, media voting system of last season, each team will be led by a captain who will select from a pool of starter and reserves to pad out his roster. The teams will also play for a Los Angeles area charity, a measure to continue with the NBA’s longstanding tradition to give back to the community and city that hosts the game.
While all signs point to the 2017 game as the impetus for the transition, the glut of Eastern Conference All Stars that jumped ship to the West was likely another cause for concern. From last year, Paul George, Carmelo Anthony, Paul Millsap and Jimmy Butler all moved to the Western Conference, while Gordon Hayward was the only Western All Star to move East.
Where the game could be concerning is with the inclusion of younger, budding All Stars. While names in the East like Kristaps Porzingis could easily absorb the votes from former NY compatriot Carmelo “Hoodie Me7o” Anthony, players in the West like Jokic (poised for another breakout year) or the Portland backcourt of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum could find trouble making the cut given the talent pool.
While the coaches are still selected based on mid-season records, adding them to the pool of captain selections such that each captain picked a head coach and two assistants could make for an interesting sideline diversion. The possible merger of Tom Thibodeau’s defensive schemes with the craftiness of Brad Stevens’ sideline plays would only benefit the league’s attempt to re-up the contest.
The 2018 All Star Game will be played on Sunday, February 18, 2018 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.