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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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Food guide for the neighborhood around Capital One Arena

The Partisan

Food guide for the neighborhood around Capital One Arena

Here is a guide to the area around Capital One Arena for restaurants and bars before and after Wizards games (or Caps games, Mystics games, Valor games or concerts). These recommendations were made on a special episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast. The full episode can be found below.

The quotes in this guide are from Jose Andrés, a world-renowned chef with restaurants in the area, Washington City Paper food editor Laura Hayes and yours truly, a sports reporter who spends a lot of his time at Capital One Arena... and bars.

Drink before the game

City Tap House of D.C. - 901 9th St. NW

Hayes: "Really relaxed. They have a bunch of flat screens in case there is a good game on... they have a good happy hour before weekday games... really comfortable environment with reasonable prices and it's walkable to the arena."

Daikaya - 705 6th St. NW

Andrés: "Katsuya Fukushima, who used to be a team member of mine, we worked many years together. Finally, when he moved away from D.C. and he came back, he opened Daikaya, which has some of the best ramen anywhere in the country. Then he opened Izakaya and Bantam King."

Nice place to get a drink and impress someone

Denson Liquor Bar - 600 F St. NW

Hayes: "Hard to find... so it's never crowded down there. It's really dark and kind of sultry with a beautiful design to it. The cocktails are usually dominated by the brown liquor classic cocktails... they have higher-end snacks."

Red Apron/The Partisan - 709 D. St. NW

Andrés: "They do amazing hot dogs to amazing burgers to amazing cocktails to amazing beer."

Hayes: "It's a really good time. Lots of good sour bears. It's a great hang."

Nice dinner for a date

Succotash - 915 F St. NW

Hayes: "A mix of southern cuisine... and then some touches from [the chef's] Korean heritage... it's southern food, but not like you know it. There's some cool twists."

Zaytinya - 701 9th St. NW

Andrés: "Zaytinya is an homage to Greece, to Turkey and to Lebanon... Mr. Ted Leonsis, I know, loves the place because he has a Greek background himself... it has become a favorite of Washingtonians."

China Chilcano - 418 7th St. NW

Andrés: "This one is my love for everything Asian and everything Latin... This is one of the most amazing melting pots. You can find Chinese, Japanese, and Peruvian cooking all in one country. Right here, I wanted to bring that story to everybody in Washington."

Best place to go out after a game and get hammered

Jackpot - 726 7th St. NW

Hayes: "It's good before and after games. No frills. You're not going to be packed in there like sardines. They have a really good beer selection... it's laid back, with cheap beer and you can still hear each other."

Irish Channel - 500 H St. NW

Hughes: "A favorite of sportswriters. Live music, open late with a late night menu (important)."

Best-kept secrets

Free State - 501b G St. NW

Hayes: "They have $10-12 cocktails. It's very relaxed. They have the orange crush, the signature cocktail of the Eastern Shore. They have a huge slate of local beers."

On Rye - 740 6th St. NW

Hayes: "It's a new Jewish deli that opened on sixth street. It's extremely close."

Chinese food in Chinatown

Full Kee - 509 H St. NW

Hayes: "It's reliable. I spend most of my time interviewing chefs and whenever I ask what their dirty little secret is, they say Full Kee."

Fast casual

Cava - 707 H St. NW

Hayes: "I still can't get enough of it... you can usually get in and out there very fast. I personally love the lamb sliders."

Honeygrow - 716 7th St. NW

Hayes: "It's more healthy. You can build your own salad or stir fry noodles."

Best burger

Grand Trunk - 641 Indiana Ave. NW

Hayes: "They stick two patties that are spiced with ginger, cumin, green chiles, onion and cilantro and they put them inside some grilled naan. Then, it's smeared with some kind of an amazing sauce and it comes with dippers like a creamy yogurt sauce and tamarind. It's just a messy, messy good time."

The Smith - 901 F St. NW

Hayes: "They have a nice, big, fat burger deluxe for $17 that is just loaded with everything you can imagine."

Red Apron/The Partisan - 709 D. St. NW

Hughes: "Burgers are awesome. Beers are awesome. Awesome."

Best pizza

Graffiato - 707 6th St. NW

Hayes: "It's a Mike Isabella restaurant and he spent a lot of time growing up on the Jersey Shore. So, he has a Jersey Shore pizza that has fried calamari on top with tomato, provolone and then this really zesty cherry pepper aioli. It's not your normal margherita or pepperoni, but they have some really good pizza that they're cranking out there."

Best family spot

Nando's Peri-Peri - 819 7th St. NW

Hayes: "They have five different options for kid's meals. They have grilled chicken strips, grilled cheese; they all come with a side... everything a kid would like." 

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Bradley Beal loves Sixers' Joel Embiid's trash-talking, just don't try it on the Wizards

USA Today Sports Images

Bradley Beal loves Sixers' Joel Embiid's trash-talking, just don't try it on the Wizards

There may not be another athlete, regardless of sport, that is as good at social media as Sixers center Joel Embiid. It's partly why he has become so popular among fans and media despite only having 31 NBA games under his belt.

It has apparently even earned him a nickname as the 'Social Media King.' 

Everyone seems to be laughing, expect Heat center Hassan Whiteside perhaps. Embiid and Whiteside have been in an on-court and off-court beef for a while now. Last year Embiid called Whiteside "BBQ chicken" after one matchup, suggesting he 'cooked' him. Whiteside also made headlines for suggesting Embiid's social media prowess earned him All-Star votes.


After a matchup between the two this preseason, Whiteside tweeted his team's record against Embiid's Sixers. So, Embiid fired back with a series of tweets, some of which were hilarious:

The Wizards host the Sixers for the regular season opener on Wednesday and, with Embiid's social media antics in the news, Bradley Beal was asked for his opinion after Monday's practice. He's amused.

"Jo-Jo is my boy. I like Jo-Jo. We have the same trainer and work out in the summers. That was crazy. That was really crazy. He was letting his feelings be known," Beal said. 

"But I like it, it keeps guys competitive. Same with Whiteside. I think that's what we need a little bit. I don't think there is necessarily going to be any fighting or any hands thrown or anything like that. It's a competition thing. Who is the better big and who is going to prove it?"

Beal enjoys Embiid's trash-talking from afar and considers him a friend. Just don't bring that stuff to D.C.

"When he plays us, we're going to try to shut him down as best as we can. We aren't trying to hear none of that talking and I'm gonna let him know about it, too," he said.

Markieff Morris may be out, but the Wizards have plenty of players who won't back down to trash-talking, Beal included.