The NBA recently announced that they’ll be allowing captains — the top two vote-getters from fans — to pick the teams from among the rosters of available palyers from the fan vote and coaches selection (similar to last year).
And while seeing LeBron James and Steph Curry engage on a schoolyard pick, potentially splitting the Warriors or reuniting former teammates might be entertaining, the game itself will still be a drag.
No defense, little effort and a game just tangentially resembling basketball has characterized February’s annual game. It needs more help than stealing an idea already failingly executed by the NHL and NFL.
Here’s five better suggestions.
1. 4-point line
The NBA has been flirting with this for long enough. And while few expect the NBA ever to actually add a four-point line, playing with one at the All-Star game could be entertaining. Three-pointers haven’t only become routine, they’ve become easy. The percentage of NBA players who can’t make an open three has been shriking as kids are now growing up with the long-ball as a fundamental skill. Seeing Steph Curry lob it from 35 feet to fuel a 14-point comeback could add some edge to the otherwise dreadful game.
2. Power plays
Nothing is more exciting than a meaningful power play in hockey. Why not see how it works in basketball? If someone commits a personal foul, the team loses that player for, say, 30 seconds or one minute. See how teams defend 4-on-5, or how offensive mentalities change with a numbers edge. When the power play ends, the fouling player should be allowed to sprint back into action just like a hockey player busting out of a penalty box.
3. No free throws
As a correlary to the above rule, get rid of free throws. Sure, they play a crucial role in a regular season or playoff game but it’s a big momentum queller in the All-Star Game. No one really cares about the score they want highlight plays. Adding a power play can help. Or perhaps our fourth idea…
Instead of free throws or a power play, the All-Star Game should have a player who commits a foul line up on defense against a player from the other team in a quick one-on-one style reward play. If the defender stops a score, his team gets the ball. If the offensive player gets a bucket, they get the points they would have otherwise needed to get at the line.
5. 15 second shot clock
Lets get a sense of urgency here. We don’t want to mess with home advantage, like major league baseball did, and lets assume we can’t control how much players get paid for an All-Star win. Instead, lets shorten the shot clock from 24 to 15 seconds. More scoring and less standing around will be a big benefit to fans. If a player is tired from running up an down the court just sub them out.