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Adam Silver on not televising All-Star draft: ‘The goal was to improve the All-Star game’

2018 All Star Game

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announces that Los Angeles will host the 2018 NBA All-Star game at Staples Center, in Los Angeles, Tuesday, March 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)


Early indications the NBA wouldn’t televise the new All-Star draft were met with swift opposition from fans and media.

Yet, the league isn’t budging.

Zach Lowe:

NBA commissioner Adam Silver,
via NBA TV:

Should there be a public selection? Now, I get it. Yes, it would be more fun if we had that kind of draft. On other hand, I recognize that in picking a team to perform in the here and now, it’s a little different than drafting, where you’re selecting players for the long-term. Because, in picking a team, you want guys that are going to complement each other. And I think there was a sense from the players that it put them in an impossible position, where they’re picking one player over another – in part, not because they necessarily think that player is better than another player, maybe because they have a personal relationship with the player, or they think that player would be a better complement to the players, and that, invariably, if they just did it as a pure draft, guys would say, Oh, I can’t believe such and such was selected before that player.

So, I would only say, it’s a big change from where we were, and I think we’ll see how this works, and it will develop over time.

And I’m sure you all in the media will spend your time getting from our captains exactly who was picked over what other player.

The goal was to improve the All-Star game, not put a cherry on top of the cake.

That might have been the internal goal. Everyone else saw a cool new event – the All-Star draft.

Who would pick whom? Would players just take their teammates? Would rivalries matter? Personal feuds?

The draft is intriguing on its own. I doubt it makes the game better – especially if we don’t know the order of selection. The best way it would help the game is someone who got passed over trying to take revenge on the opposing captain, but the league won’t even tell us who that slighted player is. (I’m not even sure the selected players will know how high they were picked.)

I care far more about which All-Stars are selected – and, this year, how they’re drafted – than the game itself. Even the dunk and 3-point contests rate higher on my priorities. All-Star weekend is a sprawling event, and the draft fits perfectly into that. It’s not about just the game.

To be fair, Silver is clearly trying to appease the players, who’d naturally be concerned about fallout from the draft. That Silver practically embraces the draft order leaking is telling.

But I’m not sure any of the decision-makers here realize how big of a letdown it’d be if we don’t learn the draft order. The NBA raised expectations with a fresh idea, but is hiding all but the least-interesting aspects of it. By the time the game rolls around, I don’t see how a secret draft would add meaningful intrigue or increase competitiveness.