If there was one criticism of the new team captains format for the NBA All-Star Game, it was: why wasn’t the player draft televised?
Well, that will likely change next year.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne after Sunday’s game in Los Angeles that players are all for televising the draft.
“When we sat with the union and we came up with this format, we all agreed, let’s not turn something that’s 100 percent positive into a potential negative to any player,” Silver said. “But then … maybe we’re overly conservative, because then we came out of there, and the players were, ‘We can take it. We’re All-Stars. Let’s have a draft.’ So it sounds like we’re going to have a televised draft next year.”
“Televise it,” said Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan, who played for Team Stephen. “Give the people what they want to see. I think everybody wants to see it. At the end of the day, every single person that gets picked, you are an All-Star, so it doesn’t matter where you really go, so I think televise it.”
Instead of an Eastern Conference vs. Western Conference game, as the league has done for years, this year fans voted for their top five and then the top vote-getter from each conference became a team captain and was able to pick his squad.
This year, that meant Team Lebron James vs. Team Stephen Curry.
Each man got to select from the starters chosen by fans, and then reserves who were selected by the league’s 30 head coaches.
The new format meant a more exciting game, and players – gasp! – playing defense, previously a rarity in the annual exhibition.
Team LeBron held off Team Stephen, 148-145.
“I thought it was incredible. I can’t tell you how appreciative I am of the players,” Silver said.
Players liked the new format as much as fans, with Curry saying he wants to be captain again next year, especially with the game being held in Charlotte, where he was raised.
There was one other lingering question from the game, left unanswered thanks to the non-televised draft: in which order had James chosen the other four players who started with him?
The answer: 1. Kevin Durant; 2. Anthony Davis; 3. Kyrie Irving; 4. DeMarcus Cousins. Cousins missed the game due to a season-ending injury.
“I know who I like watching, and I had a draft board. I had a process,” James said. “Some of it went according to plan. A couple of them fell through, but I was satisfied and happy with the guys that I got.”
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