The NBA tried in vain this week to do something about its fading All-Star Game, deciding to go to a new format that features a player draft by two "captains," who will choose their own teams from already-selected players. All that's missing is shirts and skins.
But, as Ben Golliver pointed out, the league entirely missed the point. There will still be a vote by conference for the all-star players with 12 voted in from East and West in the pool that the captains will dip into for their teams. Wrong move. The vote should have been for the overall best 24 players in the league -- allowing for the selection of the truly top players, which means probably about 18 from the Western Conference and six from the East. THEN, you'd have something. But the new format doesn't solve the problem of many good West players being left out of the game.
And, of course, the even bigger problem hasn't been solved, either. The real dilemma about the game is that the players have turned it into a joke with the way they approach it. In the last two games, the winning West team scored more than 190 points. Now understand to get that many points in a 48-minute game you either have to be playing against air or for the Big Baller Brand's cherry-picking AAU team.
Not only do the teams now play ZERO defense, they have turned the game into a sort of casual beauty contest, with players jacking up long-distance threes or driving for uncontested fancy dunks. There is way too much preening and posing. All that's missing are courtside judges holding up cards.
You watch this stuff for 10 minutes and realize it's a waste of time. Believe it or not, players used to take great pride in this game. They wanted to win and played hard. That pride, I'm sorry to say, seems to be missing these days. There is no motivation to win the game and no amount of money you could give the winning team to provide incentive.
The league is stuck with a lemon of a game and it will stay that way until a few players show up and take it seriously. I'm waiting for a hotshot rookie to get there and decide to guard people -- really get into them. That, of course, would set up a testy atmosphere where other players would want to even it up and perhaps, give us a real game.
Right now, it's far from a real game and choosing up teams not named "East" and "West" won't help.