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New NBA All-Star Game format means endless possibilities, but shouldn't affect Wizards' Wall or Beal


New NBA All-Star Game format means endless possibilities, but shouldn't affect Wizards' Wall or Beal

Adam Silver has proven to be an innovate NBA Commissioner and Tuesday saw one of his most progressive ideas become official.

The NBA's All-Star Game will have a revamped format beginning 2018 in Los Angeles, doing away with the traditional East vs. West matchup and instead going with a system where team captains will pick their teams regardless of conference.

The game will also be played for charity with each team representing an organization.

The NFL's Pro Bowl has used teams that didn't stick to conferences in recent years with former players like Deion Sanders and Michael Irvin picking their teams. Some would call it 'playground style,' The NBA's format will instead have current stars like LeBron James and Stephen Curry doing the honors.

So what does it all mean for the 2018 NBA All-Star Game?


The captains could make things very interesting

The captains for both teams will be the players who received the most fan votes in each conference.

With all the craziness that went down this past offseason, the fans could use their power to create some intrigue. If LeBron is a captain, will he pick Kyrie Irving after all that went down in Cleveland?

If Russell Westbrook or Kevin Durant are captains in the West, will they pick each other? Will Westbrook overlook all of the Warriors' All-Stars on principle?

Surely, fans and media will read into the picks that are made. If a guy is the captain and doesn't pick his own teammate, questions will be asked and rumors may start. Whomever LeBron picks, if he's captain, will start speculation about his free agent future. If he takes John Wall and Bradley Beal, #LeBron2DC will be trending on Twitter before you know it.

The NBA already has a lot of off-the-court drama that makes it the best soap opera in sports. This format will only add to those storylines.


The format shouldn't change much for the Wizards

The selection process for All-Stars will stay the same, so there is no need to wonder if this will help or hurt guys like Wall and Beal. All-Star starters will still be chosen with a combination of fan voting (50 percent) plus input from current players (25 percent) and the media (25 percent). Head coaches will then select the 14 reserves.

There will still be 12 players from each conference earning spots and that is a good thing for Wall and Beal. The Western Conference is stacked heavily with superstars, especially at the guard position. The fact stars like Paul George, Carmelo Anthony and Jimmy Butler went west this offseason still helps Beal's chances of making his first All-Star selection.

Will fans be more interested?

Every league in pro sports has trouble getting people interested in their showcase games. The Pro Bowl is often panned and gets bad ratings compared to actual NFL games, but its not alone. The NBA All-Star Game doesn't do the ratings it used to, either. Interestingly enough, the ratings for the 2017 All-Star Game were their highest since 2013. Still, the 7.75 million people who watched were about half of the audience the NBA's All-Star Game regular received in the 1990s.

Silver wanted to make a change and this is what the league came up with. Depending on the teams, it could make things more interesting. Aside from the Olympics, there are a lot of superstar pairings fans never get to see. LeBron and Curry on the same team would be fun, so would Wall sharing the backcourt with Klay Thompson and James Harden. Want to see what Wall would look like playing with Kevin Durant? This could be your chance. 

What we're rooting for

Beyond the obvious storylines perpetuating the off-court drama that makes the NBA so interesting, here's something that would be fun: a team full of unicorns, the type of athletes the NBA is becoming increasingly centered around. 

Here's a lineup: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kristaps Porzingis, Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis and Rudy Gobert. Or maybe Karl-Anthony Towns, or Joel Embiid.

Either way, you could put five players on the court who boast insane length and athleticism, while having no specific position. This new All-Star format is pretty much the only way this can happen.

Let's make it a reality.

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Wizards vs. Pacers: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

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Wizards vs. Pacers: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre, Jr. and the Washington Wizards battle Victor Oladipo, Myles Turner, Bojan Bogdanovic and the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch:


Where: Capital One Arena
Tip-off: 7 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (pregame coverage begins at 6 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Radio: 1500 AM

Season series on the line

The Wizards and Pacers square off for the third and final time this season on Saturday night and the game will represent the tiebreaker for the season series. The Wizards beat the Pacers in their first meeting on Feb. 5 and Indiana then got even on March 4. The first game did not feature Victor Oladipo. John Wall didn't play in either of them.

Whichever team wins on Saturday night will own the playoff tiebreaker, meaning that team will get the better seed in the even they finish with the same regular season record. Right now only one game separates the teams, so that could definitely come into play. With a win over the Pacers, the Wizards could also move into third place in the East. They would tie the Pacers by record and own the head-to-head series. The one variable there is the Cavs play the Bulls on Saturday. If they win and the Pacers lose, the Cavs will be in third.


Wizards have been struggling

The Wizards won their last game on the road against the Celtics, but have lost five of their last eight overall. They remain in good shape in the big picture, but could use some positive momentum. A win over the Pacers would certainly give them that with three off days awaiting on the other end before they head out to San Antonio to face the Spurs.

Defense has been the problem. During this eight-game stretch, they have allowed the second-most points in the paint per game (53.8), the ninth-most points per game (111.0) overall and the fourth-highest opponents shooting percentage (49.3). 


Pacers are tough

The Pacers may be missing two of their best big men on Saturday as Domantas Sabonis has been ruled out and Myles Turner is questionable. Both are nursing sprained left ankles. That bodes well for the Wizards' defense in the paint, but Indiana still has plenty of firepower.

Oladipo is having a terrific season with averages of 23.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 2.2 steals per game. There's also Bojan Bogdanovic, a former Wizards player who is averaging 14.0 points and shooting 46.9 percent from the field and 39.4 percent from three this year. Bogdanovic has scored 20 points or more in each of his games against the Wizards this season. The Pacers as a team have won six of their last eight.


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Ramon Sessions signs with Wizards for rest of season, giving them long-term insurance for John Wall

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Ramon Sessions signs with Wizards for rest of season, giving them long-term insurance for John Wall

The Wizards have signed point guard Ramon Sessions for the rest of the 2017-18 season following the expiration of his second 10-day contract, NBC Sports Washington has confirmed.

Sessions, 31, has played in five games for the Wizards this season with averages of 7.2 points and 3.4 assists. He spent 13 games with the Knicks previously this season before first signing with the Wizards on Feb. 23. He signed his second 10-day contract on March 5.

The Wizards were only permitted to sign Sessions to two consecutive 10-day contracts per league rules. They had to decided at the end of the second deal whether to sign him for the rest of the season or release him to free agency.

"His reputation is amazing and rightfully so. He showed me and the staff that he comes and does his job every day," head coach Scott Brooks said. "He was more than deserving of the opportunity to stay here all year."


Sessions is eligible for their playoff roster if they do indeed make the postseason, as he was let go by New York before March 1. That was always going to be a consideration in their plans at the end of his second 10-day contract. If they were to go out and get someone else, the March 1 deadline would come back into play.

Sessions gives the Wizards depth at the point guard position along with Tomas Satoransky and Tim Frazier, who have collectively held down the fort with John Wall out recovering from left knee surgery. By keeping Sessions, the Wizards have another backup plan in place.

Brooks said on Friday that Wall will be placed back into the starting lineup immediately when he's ready to return. That was expected and it will have a domino effect on Sessions and the other guards once he is back. The minutes may dry up completely for Sessions, a 10-year NBA journeyman.

"You're gonna have guys that are going to have to be good teammates," Brooks said, suggesting the playing time would go away. "Sacrificing is a big part of this league."


Satoransky will be the primary backup to Wall and Sessions may be out of minutes alongside Frazier. Brooks did, however, note that Satoransky could spend time at shooting guard and small forward. That could theoretically open the door for Sessions or Frazier to get playing time.

Whether Sessions plays or not, he's happy to be in the fold. Though he often said the uncertainty of the 10-day deal didn't weight on him, he admitted on Friday that it wasn't easy to navigate.

"This was my first time doing a 10-day and those were probably the longest 20 days I've been a part of in the NBA," he said. "I'm just excited to be back here. D.C. is my home." 

The news was first reported by the Washington Post.

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