From Exhibition to Competition: How the New All-Star Draft Changed It All?

 By Rodolfo Dacleson II

PHOTO: Nba.com

The National Basketball Association (NBA) All-Star Game (ASG) is one of the league’s most awaited festivities by fans worldwide. The best-of-the-best NBA players gather to showcase their skills and chemistry with other standouts in this midseason spectacle. 

Expect alley-oops, thunderous dunks, logo three-point shots, fancy passes, and other highlight plays that a basketball patron can’t see in an actual game. Aside from providing hardcore action for spectators, the All-Star showdown’s other purpose is to delight the fans with once-in-a-lifetime basketball entertainment.

The NBA began this widely-acclaimed tradition in 1951, where the most prominent names from the Western and Eastern Conference compete in a friendly competition. 

Yet, the league made a monumental change in the ASG landscape in 2017. Its primary goal is to make the game more competitive than a mere exhibition match only. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and that time’s National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) President Chris Paul came up with scrapping the erstwhile East vs. West set-up. Then, replacing it with the All-Star Draft in the coming years starting 2018. 

Currently, the said system determines the player’s inclusion and their roles in the NBA All-Star Weekend’s main event. As a primer for the upcoming draft on February 10, here are the things you need to know about it.

All-Star Draft VS Previous Format

The voting outcome still matters in the All-Star Draft like the previous format. Another similarity is the number of players from the West and East who can participate remains the same: 12. 

The relevance of being voted the most in both conferences sets the two formats apart. Players from the two sides with the highest voter turnout will serve as captains of their respective squads while automatically earning an outright starting cast seat. 

They will then draft their ASG line-ups, taking turns to select the other four who will start the game with them from the eight All-Starter pool – players that ranked second to fifth during the voting phase in the East and West followed by seven reserves from the remaining 14 All-Stars. Take note that conference affiliation does not apply to the drafting process. 

Voting Process for Starters and Reserves

Two guards and three frontcourt players will start the game for both teams. The 10 starters get selected from the combined voting averages, constituting 50 percent fan votes and current player and media votes with 25 percent share each.

The 14 reserves have the same composition yet with two players irrespective of their playing positions in their conferences, as chosen by all NBA head coaches. Another player from the same conference will replace the player who can’t join the ASG and will play alongside that player’s supposed teammates, as selected by Silver. The commissioner may also include an additional player at his will, like what he did for Dwayne Wade and Dirk Nowitzki in 2019.

Selection of Coaches

Team standings two weeks prior to the ASG will determine the coaches for the opposing sides. Captains will work with their respective conference leader’s coaching staff.

It only applies if the coaches themselves have not yet filled the said job before. The conference forerunner’s coaching staff will replace them.

All-Star Game 2020-2021

In the last year’s edition of the All-Star Games, Lebron James and his selected players continued to dominate as they thrashed Team Durant, 170-150. Bron now had an unblemished 4-0 win-loss slate in ASG after beating the squads of Stephen Curry in 2018 and Giannis Antetokounmpo in the next two years, then KD this time around. Antetokoumpo, drafted by James, won the Most Valuable Player plum.

Will Team Lebron’s dominance continue or will a contender finally put an end to it? But before that, take a look at the following important dates:

January 27, 2022: Announcement of All-Star starters

February 3, 2022: Announcement of All-Star reserves

February 8, 2022: Announcement of State Farm All-Star Saturday Night participants

February 10, 2022: All-Star Draft

February 18-20, 2022: All-Star Weekend

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