Scorer’s Table: All-Star Reform

Posted by Rob Mahoney on February 3, 2009 under Commentary, xOther | 19 Comments to Read

One of the greatest advantages in getting so many basketball minds in one place with the TrueHoop Network is…well, getting so many basketball minds in one place.  It would be a shame not to take full advantage of the network’s capabilities, and so we had a round table of sorts to discuss potential All-Star Game reform.

Rob Mahoney, The Two Man Game: All-Star Weekend has been ‘broken’ for a long time.  The voting has become suspect, the dunk contest is driven by toys and ploys, and the game itself, while it has never really valued substance over spectacle, has devolved into botched alley-oop attempts and centers launching threes.  If that’s your cup of disgusting, decades-old tea, then awesome.  If not: trust me, you’re not alone.

First, let’s talk voting.  They say “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  But if the system already picked Allen Iverson over more qualified guards, and was on the verge of voting Tracy McGrady over Chris Paul, Bruce Bowen over Amar’e Stoudemire or Dirk Nowitzki, and Yi Jianlian over Kevin Garnett, I’d say it’s as close to “broke” as I’d like to get.  We all understand the problems, but what’s the solution?

John Krolik, Cavs the Blog: Make the process a little more Hobbesian. My idea: Take positions off the ballot, top-3 vote getters are guaranteed starting spots at their respective positions or as close as possible, and coaches decide the rest. This pretty much keeps the ridiculous picks like T-Mac, AI, or Yi from having a shot and allows the coaches to reserve the right to prevent a ridiculous starter snub for a guy like CP3 without secret intervention being necessary. It’s not perfect, but better than the current system. (Although I love that everyone thinks a situation with Chinese people voting is a disaster and needs to be stopped. How offensive is that?)

Rob Mahoney, The Two Man Game: Love the idea, and I’ve got another: what if the players themselves voted to decide the starters?  I know it’s a game for the fans, but wouldn’t the players have the most insight into who does the most amazing things on the court, who makes the game fun, and who truly deserves it?  Of course it opens up an entirely new can of worms in bringing player politics into the equation, but maybe that’s half the fun.  Every player on a team roster as of “Voting Day” fills out a ballot for the starting five of each conference, with no nominations or predetermined options.  The possible deception and teammate betrayal are just an added bonus to what could shake up to be an interesting selection process.

For now the fans of the league are deluded into thinking they’re holding the real power, and that perception helps out the league image.  So don’t count on any significant change coming soon.

The Slam Dunk Contest is the primary evidence pointing to the ASW’s decline, and something needs to be done.  Dwight Howard’s getting everyone excited, but are a bunch of neat parlor tricks really what this event needs to spark a renaissance?  What else do you guys have in mind for the future of the Dunk Contest?

Jeremy Wagner, Roundball Mining Company: I think a high dunk competition would be great.  Keep raising the rim higher and higher and see who the last man standing is.  You could set up different groups such as 6’4″ and under, 6’4″ to 6’10″ and 6’10″ and above.

Wouldn’t you want to see if Yao Ming can dunk on a rim as high as Dwight Howard can or if Derrick Rose can throw down on a rim higher than Dwyane Wade?  You could also have the winners between the three groups battle it out.  How riveted would you be if LeBron James and Dwight Howard were going into the finals of the high dunk competition after both of them won their divisions by ramming one home on a 12 foot rim?

John Krolik, Cavs the Blog: This one is more a tweak and might already be what’s happening, but have the league tap a few guys who might be dunk contest guys, have the execs go back in like a month and see what the guys have come up with, then narrow it down from like the 10 guys they originally chose based on practice scuttlebutt to the 4 contestants. I don’t care about getting big names, I just want awesome dunks. And no more fan voting. I voted for Rudy because he was way cooler in the ad than the other two guys, and then I learn Joe Alexander promised to do two never-seen before dunks WITHOUT ANY PROPS. Not only would that have been great to see, but he would have instantly become “No-Prop Joe” on my website forever. Again, down with democracy.

M. Haubs, The Painted Area: One enduring difficulty with the dunk contest currently is that, at this point, it’s hard to top the dunks of the past. To alleviate that pressure, alternate between the “Artistic” competition and the “High Dunk” competition (very much agree that this would be fun) on an annual basis.  I think the every-other-year scarcity would help make both competitions more special.

To reform the “Artistic” competition itself, turn it into more of a figure-skating model (let me explain, please), where the competitors get a certain time period – 2 minutes or 4 minutes or whatever – to put together a program of dunks.

This encourages spectacular attempts because a single miss would be less penalized (and boring makes would be less useful), yet you couldn’t just miss 72 times and still win the competition like Nate Robinson.  Not sure if it should be one round or two rounds, just go from there. I think that bumping the prize money way up to $1M or so would boost interest, as well.

Rob Mahoney, The Two Man Game: I think for this year, I’d settle for Rudy Gay not being a major buzz-kill.  But I guess disappointment really is in the spirit of the weekend, whether it’s who blew the dunk contest, who got left off the All-Star rosters…or this year, who’s on the outside looking in on the Rookie Challenge.  Kevin Love’s got his jock strap in a bunch over the whole ordeal (and rightfully so), but why?  The game is promoted as a “rivalry,” and I love fast breaks as much as the next guy, but in truth I’ve never seen a Rookie-Sophomore game that really tickled my fancy.  The game is somewhat limited by its own arbitrary purpose; the sophomores are almost always going to win, unless they’re faced with a vastly superior draft class, in which they still sometimes win.  Yay.  Still, the event seems salvageable.  Maybe in another life or another form, but there is some redeeming value in the idea of a rookie event.  So where do we go from here?

Dan Feldman, Piston Powered: Get rid of the sophomores. Would you rather see Kevin Durant and Co. beat up up on some first-year players or get a chance to see Kevin Love, Marreese Speights, Eric Gordon, Mario Chalmers and Joe Alexander in extended action?

Mike Kurylo, Knickerblogger: I’d like to see the freshmen play the NBDL All Stars. It’s become apparent that the NBDL is a viable source of NBA level talent. I think this would be a competitive game, since each has something valuable to play for. The D-Leaguers will be fighting to show that they belong in the league, and they may have an extra chip on their shoulder playing millionaire rookies.

M. Haubs, The Painted Area: Wow, Rookie vs. D-League is a fantastic idea.  Absolutely no downside.  Huge increase in the game’s intensity.

Rob Mahoney, The Two Man Game: Seems like a great way to turn nothing into something, and it’s a wonderful idea to integrate the under-appreciated D-Leaguers.

I refuse to acknowledge the existence of the Shooting Stars competition, so just about the only area due for a revamp is the Skills Challenge.  Although unlike the Rookie-Sophomore Game, I’m not entirely sure that the Skills Challenge has some kind of underlying purpose (“OMG, which point guard can run around cones the fastest and make a lay-up?!”).  Just for fun, though, what should be done to breathe life into the young event that has, quite tragically, already worn out its welcome?

Jeremy Wagner, Roundball Mining Company: I would like to see players other than guards participate in the skills challenge.  How fun would it be to watch Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Dirk Nowitzki, LaMarcus Aldridge and Lamar Odom battle it out?  There could also be a big man division with players like Tim Duncan, Dwight Howard, Nene, Amare Stoudemire, Pau Gasol and Marcus Camby.

The last change to the competition format would be a pentathlon. There could be a skills challenge, three point shootout, trick shot shootout, race four lengths of the court with a basketball and then maybe the Mikan Drill (60 seconds to make as many layups as you can alternating hands with each shot).  Whoever wins would be given the title of The Most Complete Player in the NBA or Most Versatile Player in the NBA.  A financial bonus is this could be held at a second venue resulting in more ticket sales.

John Krolik, Cavs the Blog: The invitees will be Gerald Wallace, Anthony Randolph, Josh Smith, and Julian Wright. Set up challenges set to their talents. Watch as universe itself melts.

M. Haubs, The Painted Area: A “Fastest With the Ball” Competition – I think this is a huge improvement over the current Skills Competition in part because the time record would be much more tangible, and something that young fans could conceivably do to see how they compare to the pros. 3 heats of 3 players apiece – top 3 advance to the final.

Also love the idea of including big men – could have separate competitions by height: 6-4 and under, 6-5 to 6-9, and 6-10 and above.  Tell me you wouldn’t have wanted to see Shaq, Hakeem and the Admiral compete in this one in their primes.

Rob Mahoney, The Two Man Game: Personally, I’m ready to watch the universe melt.  John’s idea would absolutely rock my world and could produce some of the most entertaining, randomly derived events (Could they block two shots at the same time?  Who could steal it from Chris Paul first?  If all players were given a ball and a finite space, who would be the last man standing with an active dribble?  Could they block a shot launched out of a machine like a clay pigeon?).

At that point, though, the Skills Challenge would be the Skills Challenge in name only.  In essence, it’s an entirely new event.  So what else ya got?  What other events is All-Star Weekend lacking/what’s a new event that would be infinitely watchable and intriguing?  Or, taking it a step further, what is any new idea that you’d like to see the league take on for the Weekend?

Matt McHale, By the Horns: I like the idea of a pickup game where guys shoot up for teams (three-pointers instead of free throws, I’m thinking) and then letting them go at it. Not for the main event, but for a day-before distraction. Maybe do only 3-on-3 or 2-on-2 and have a mini-tournament with games to 9 (by 1s and 2s).

I think Bill Simmons has suggested games of H-O-R-S-E and (I think it was him) one-on-one. Basically, more opportunities for the All-Stars to compete and interact outside of the game itself, but not in unnatural ways like the skills competition, which doesn’t include all the players anyway.

John Krolik, Cavs the Blog: One-on-One and HORSE are no-brainers. Give LBJ and Kobe like 3 million each. It’d be worth it. CP3 vs. Deron, Amare vs. KG, easy.

M. Haubs, The Painted Area: I think that H-O-R-S-E and 1-on-1 might be more tedious in reality than they might seem.

A Halfcourt Challenge: As described by Bill Simmons a few years ago: “Two teammate have two minutes to make as many half-court shots as possible. None of them can launch one until the previous shot has hit the rim. Highest total wins.”

Brett LaGree, Hoopinion: Half-court shot contest. Each All-Star gets 1 entry. He can either shoot himself or back someone to shoot on his behalf. Massive amounts of gambling ensue.

Anything that really achieves that last step would make for better viewing than a judged competition.

Henry Abbott, TrueHoop: 100% on board with that last notion.

Here’s an idea I wrote about some time ago:

“Strap a cordless microphone on every player, start each player with $20,000 cash, and let them make whatever bets they want with each other. $5,000 I can hit a half-court shot before you. $10k says the judges will like my tomahawk jam more than yours. $20,000 says I can shoot 50% from the free throw line blind-folded. That kind of thing. To keep everyone from talking at once, I guess they should be paired up, which would require some kind of elimination tournament. If they had this, it would be the must-see event of All-Star weekend. It’s like poker meets basketball.”

Dan Feldman, Piston Powered: An old-timer’s game. I’m not talking about a bunch of guys standing out of the way so Julius Erving can try to dunk. I want to see some guys who aren’t that far from their retirement and are still competitive enough to want to win.  This may mean former All-Stars like Michael Jordan, Reggie Miller, Karl Malone, Dennis Rodman, David Robinson, Hakeem Olajuwan, Glen Rice, Scottie Pippen, Rik Smits, Antoine Walker, Mitch Richmond, Nick Van Exel, Terrell Brandon  or Alonzo Mourning. Or this might mean role players who are still in shape, like P.J. Brown, Robert Horry, Kevin Willis, Toni Kukoc, Jon Barry or Clifford Robinson. A good mix of the two groups would provide the best game.

Also, a Two-on-two tournament between players from each state and country (that has two player represented in the NBA). Games would be short, probably to seven. This could bring some March Madness-type Cinderella stories to the weekend. And think of the potential for jersey sales. Here’s a look at what teams might look like:

Alabama: Ben Wallace and Gerald Wallace
Alaska: Carlos Boozer and Mario Chalmers
Arkansas: Joe Johnson and Derek Fisher
California: Ray Allen and Tayshaun Prince
Connecticut: Ryan Gomes and Marcus Camby
Delaware: Joey Graham and Steven Graham
Washington D.C.: Delonte West and Kevin Durant
Florida: Amar’e Stoudemire and Vince Carter
Georgia: Dwight Howard and Josh Smith
Illinois: Dwyaye Wade and Andre Iguodala
Indiana: Greg Oden and Zach Randolph
Iowa: Nick Collison and Patrick O’Bryant
Kansas: Earl Watson and Maurice Evans
Kentucky: Rajon Rondo and Greg Buckner
Louisiana: Danny Granger and Paul Millsap
Maryland: Jeff Green and Rudy Gay
Massachusetts: Demetris Nichols and Courtney Sims
Michigan: Jason Richardson and Kenyon Martin
Minnesota: Joel Przybilla and Devean George
Mississippi: Al Jefferson and Mo Williams
Missouri: David Lee and Larry Hughes
Nevada: C.J. Watson and Ricky Davis
New Jersey: Shaquille O’Neal and David West
New York: Carmelo Anthony and Elton Brand
North Carolina: Chris Paul and Josh Howard
Ohio: Lebron James and Kevin Martin
Oklahoma: Shelden Williams and Jake Voskuhl
Oregon: Ronnie Brewer and Ime Udoka
Pennsylvania: Kobe Bryant and Jameer Nelson
South Carolina: Kevin Garnett and Raymond Felton
Tennessee: Brandan Wright and J.J. Redick
Texas: Chris Bosh and LaMarcus Aldridge
Virginia: Allen Iverson and Keith Bogans
Washington: Brandon Roy and Rodney Stuckey
West Virginia: O.J. Mayo and Deron Williams
Wisconsin: Caron Butler and Devin Harris
Argentina: Manu Ginobili and Luis Scola
Brazil: Nene and Anderson Varejao
Canada: Steve Nash and Samuel Dalembert
China: Yao Ming and Yi Jianlian
Democratic Republic of the Congo: Dikembe Mutumbo and Didier Ilunga-Mbenga
Dominican Republic: Fransisco Garcia and Al Horford
France: Tony Parker and Boris Diaw
Germany: Dirk Nowitzki and Chris Kaman
Italy: Andrea Bargnani and Danilo Gallinari
Lithuania: Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Linas Kleiza
Netherlands: Dan Gadzuric and Fransisco Elson
Nigeria: Emeka Okafor and Ime Udoka
Puerto Rico: Carlos Arroyo and Jose Barea
Senegal: DeSagana Diop and Cheick Samb
Serbia: Peja Stojakavic and Aleksandar Pavlovic
Slovenia: Rasho Nesterovic and Beno Udrih
Spain: Pau Gasol and Jose Calderon
Turkey: Mehmet Okur and Hedo Turkoglu
Ukraine: Kyrylo Fesenko and Oleksiy Pecherov
United Kingdom: Ben Gordon and Luol Deng
Virgin Islands: Raja Bell and Tim Duncan

Royce Young, Daily Thunder: Back in P.E. we always played two basketball games that were lots of fun. One was called three-peat which was basically a team three-point contest and the other was Gotcha! I think NBA stars playing Gotcha! could potentially be the most entertaining television known to man. (Ed. Note: in my experience, this game has always been called “Knockout.”)

If you’re not familiar with it, here’s how it works: Players line up at the free throw (or three-point) line. There’s two balls. First guy shoots. Then second guy shoots. If the first guy misses, he runs after his rebound and gets as many tries to make it as he can. But if the second guy puts it in before him, the first guy is out. But say the first guy swishes his shot, he runs and grabs his rebound and passes it to the third guy in line who has the chance to get the second guy. The worst explanation ever for a game? Probably. But maybe you get the point.

I think this would be incredible to watch. I think you need to put the NBA guys at the three though. But imagine Kobe, LeBron, CP3, Dwight Howard, Shaq and whoever else doing this. I remember how much pressure you felt when you missed your shot because you just knew the guy behind you was going to sink his. And then you get crafty doing things like throwing your ball at the other guys in order to keep him from scoring and so on. I could just see NBA guys having a ton of fun with this. And heck, if the current NBA guys wouldn’t do it, how about old-
timers? That would be good too.

Tim Varner, 48 Minutes of Hell: This would be more fun if we did it when we got together. The pros don’t miss. No one is chasing their ball to the corner.

I’d like the league to announce the nominees for some of the end of the year awards (i.e. MVP, Defensive Player, 6th Man, Rookie of the Year) in a big, glitzy Oscar Ball kinda way. That is, bring out a couple celebrities, arm in arm, to announce the nominees for the various awards. 5 nominees per category.

Why? Well, it also helps to add celebrity appeal. But my hope is further reaching. By announcing “races” in each category, one would hope some of the players would take pride in winning–motivating their play in the back half of the season–and, more importantly, it would create a lot of conversation and debate between folks like us.

Jeremy Wagner, Roundball Mining Company: The last reform I would implement is that all hands be on deck.  If you played in your team’s last game before the break, you are required to participate in at least one event should you be asked to do so by the league.

  • Brian

    I know we all hate anything that resembles the BCS … but I think averaging 3 “polls” to determine the starters might be the fairest way to pick teams. Fans, coaches and players all get a 1/3 vote.

    The D-League and 1-on-1/2-on-2/whatever tournament ideas are awesome. One caveat: 2-on-2 teams should be actual NBA teams. Will this take forever? Probably. But it would be awesome. They could alternate eligibility by divisions – 2 play per year or something … plus the host city.

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  • Brian D

    LOVE the D-League idea, and I think there’s a good chance that the D-Leaguers would feel that they had so much riding on the game that the rookies would get annihilated.

    2-on-2 has some potential, but not in that atrocious country/state format that was mentioned above. I do like the division idea Brian brought up.

    1-on-1 is a decent idea as well, except that I’m pretty sure Chris Paul would destroy everyone, since you can’t really cheat up on someone when there’s a clear path to the basket behind you.

    The H-O-R-S-E and Knockout ideas have the same pitfall. NBA players (even “bad” shooters) seem to make 95% of their shots in warm-ups. Both games would take quite a bit of time to finish.

    Also, I enjoy the idea of taking point guards out of the Skills Competition. Throw some 6-10+ guys in there, that would be fun to watch.

    I agree with Rob on the Shooting Stars note. To quote the late George Carlin (though he was talking about another sport), it’s like watching flies fuck. I can’t imagine that competition being any more mind numbing. Please, please keep WNBA players out of all-star weekend.

    I don’t think the Sunday game really needs any fixing. Keep in mind this game isn’t for us. Most of the people that will be reading this blog are already very much locked into the NBA. I’ve always thought of it being set up to bring in the more casual fans, people in other countries, and younger fans.

    One last thing, whoever was organizing this grassroots Bruce Bowen all-star bid needs to be working for someone’s political campaign. That’s just amazing.

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  • Some good ones but…..

    If you ask me, the best idea of all is to let the referees vote on who the best 3 players after each regular season game are in a 3-2-1 format. Then tally the votes up and the top 12 from each conference get to go. They should do the same for the All NBA teams and for the MVP.
    get rid of fans, sportswriters and all the other buffoons who currently have influence on the game.

  • Micah

    I think they should just change the All-Star game itself into a 3 on 3 tournament. We have all played 3 on 3, we are familiar with it, with hoop it up and the like. I suggest a tournament of 8 teams with 4 players each so there is one sub per team, comes out to 32 All-Stars. Top 8 vote getters are team captains and make their squads. You might have a team of 3 point guards vs 3 big men. Imagine the possibilities. This could be extremely competetive and we can see a 3 man team that we may never get a chance to see. Gambling potential, competetiveness, and excitement are all there.

  • Drunken5yearold

    You guys missed Bill Simmons’ best suggestion: pick two captains several days before the game, then have them pick teams out on the court right before game time. I think it would be fascinating to watch the selection process, plus you got to think that the players will play harder because of pride. Whoever gets picked last might be embarrassed, but whatever.

    For example, let’s say that the commish gets to pick the captains to make it interesting, so he can come up with matchups like Kobe-Lebron, CP3-Deron, etc. The picks go 1-2-2…2-1, so that the captain picking first gets one pick and then they each get two picks from then on until the last pick. Are you telling me you wouldn’t tune in if this year it was Kobe-Lebron and Kobe got the first pick? Which way would he go? His options would pretty much be Paul, Howard, and Wade, right? So he’d probably have to decide between the dominant PG or C. If he takes Paul and then Lebron picks the other two, how does he counter? Duncan and KG? The strategic possibilities would be great.

    Of course, you still have to ensure that the right players are available for selection. My idea is to make the All-Star moniker a more generic term to recognize all of the players having great seasons. Then, have the league pull 24 players from this group to actually play in the game. So A.I. could still be voted an All-Star but he wouldn’t necessarily play in the game. This might water-down the All-Star distinction but so what? If both Al Jefferson and Shaq are playing like All-Stars, then both deserve to be called such.

  • DallasDeuce

    Quality stuff… I think the D-League All-Stars versus the NBA Rookies was the best idea…

    If you used the 1st and 2nd team D-League All Showcase teams vs. the rookies, you’d have:

    D-League All Showcase Team

    Will Conroy (Albuquerque Thunderbirds)
    Coby Karl (Idaho Stampede)
    Trey Johnson (Anaheim Arsenal)
    Antonio Meeking (Reno Bighorns)
    Courtney Sims (Iowa Energy)
    Dontell Jefferson (Utah Flash)
    James White (Anaheim Arsenal)
    Cartier Martin (Iowa Energy)
    Ronald Dupree (Tulsa 66ers)
    Malik Hariston (Austin Toros)

    NBA Rookie Team

    Michael Beasley (Heat)
    Rudy Fernandez (Trail Blazers)
    Marc Gasol (Grizzlies)
    Eric Gordon (Clippers)
    Brook Lopez (Nets)
    O.J. Mayo (Grizzlies)
    Greg Oden (Trail Blazers)
    Derrick Rose (Bulls)
    Russell Westbrook (Thunder)

  • Tim

    I feel as if the NBA ALLSTAR festivities need to be converted back to how they used to be.

    For one, they need to allow more competitors in the DUNK and 3-POINT competitions. Those two events were much better when 1. averaged like 6-8 competitors, 2. included 1st round, then went to semi-final round, and then finals. Not just the 1st round and take top 2 competitors and have them in the finals right away.

    Also I think they should showcase the best basketball players in these competitions i.e. allow whoever wants to compete in theh DUNK contest compete, not only limit this to people with less than 4 years in the NBA. I mean you can be in the 3point contest for however long you shoot the 3 well.

    While the new additions to the NBA weekend draw some attention, the true NBA ALLSTAR weekend is focused on those 2 events. Can’t you imagine goign back to the days when Larry Bird asked all thhe competitors who wanted to finish 2nd or to have Josh Smith, Lebron, Kobe, J-Rich be able to compete in the Dunk contest year after year and wish the same upon the new faces.

    These two competitions have been the fixture of the NBA ALLSTAR weekend, why not go back to some of the ideas of what made these things so spectacular.

  • Matt (Australia)

    Why not a USA Allstars v World Allstars
    There are enough quality international players to field a competitive team, and even though the stakes would not be as high as the Olympic Medal, i’m sure if the insensity were half of that as displayed at the USA v Spain game, then it would definately be worth watching.

  • Stephen

    Want to make the game meaningful?
    On Sat afternoon have the previous yr’s losers wash the winner’s cars. Mic up everybody and sit back and enjoy.(Have Amtrak/UPS/Fed-Ex/whover be the sponsor and bring in the cars. There will be enough of a carryover on the rosters to spice up the game. And who knows,maybe someone will get upset at the ribbing and we can get a real feud going for the rest of the season.)

    Modest fan vote change-instead of inane 2 gds and 2 forwards,vote by position,PG,SG,SF,PF,C.

    Want to really mix it up,have the players vote on top 5 players at each position w/out regard to Conference. Have fans vote for 2 players at each position(w/no Conference division.) Have the fans top 2 play the players top 2 that weren’t voted in by fans. Coaches add 2 players to each team and Commish replaces injured ones. Only 24 All-Stars,too bad,it’s supposed to be a select few.

    Only the NBA doen’t use it’s All Stars in it’s other events. Restrict the 3pt shoot-out,dunk contest,etc to the actual All-Stars. After practice you can have a quick elimination tournament to get whatever you feel you need for the night’s events.

  • Tyler

    I’ve actually seen a youtube video of some laker players from a few years ago (Vlad, Sasha, Luke Walton, Brian Cook, and Jordan Farmar) playing knockout against each other.
    It was actually pretty cool to watch and the guys were into it. Those guys are even pretty good shooters and they missed a decent amount of shots and it was really competative.
    Imagine if it were in front of a crowd and televised. They would get into it for sure and it would be great.

  • James

    I would like to see an all star team of international players put together and then have them play the American all star team. Think about it. You could have Nash, Dirk, Yao, Kirilenko, and Turkolu versus the top five american players. Most likely Kobe and Lebron and company would beat this team, but maybe not. Or maybe they play using international rules?

  • AEC

    I like the poll average idea proposed by Brian. Let the fans make their choices, but dampen the silly picks with the player and coach votes.

    Could the Dunk Contest work as a game of HORSE? Player A dunks, then Player B has 2 minutes to match the dunk to the unanimous (or majority) satisfaction of the judges. If B can’t get thumbs up from the judges in 2 minutes, he picks up a letter. Then it’s Player B’s turn. This hopefully eliminates dunks with unnecessary props and gimmicks and encourages original/difficult dunks, and the head-to-head element is exciting. Plus, it takes out the inconsistent and poorly defined 1-10 scoring system while retaining the panel of judges.

    A 3 on 3 tournament with 4 teams might be my favorite event of the whole weekend. Round robin, games up to 11, score by 1s and 2s. Top 2 teams advance to the final. If there is one 3-0 team and two 2-1 teams, the 2-1s play a tiebreaker. These teams don’t even have to be made up of the best players, 3 on 3s between borderline starters and shallow bench players would still be fun to watch, and it would give those guys a chance to get in on the action.

    Rookies vs. D-League All-Stars is a scary good idea.

  • Azhar

    I love the NBDL vs Rookies idea. I always thought that Rookies vs Sophomores was a waste. I considered East Rooks vs West Rooks but then again the West didn’t have as high picks as the East so that wouldn’t be balanced.

    Another idea I really liked was the US All Stars vs World. I thought that would be a really fun idea, although that would effectively cancel the West vs East game because who would play back to backs on ASW? lol.

    One comment suggested a mash-up between HORSE and Dunking. I think that idea is really cool too, imagine Dwight asking people to match the sticker dunk? Or VC pulling the 360 windmill and looking at the next guy try it.

    The Skills tourney should have like actual skills, not dribble an obstacle course. Some random stuff too, like who can block the most number of shots or who can hit the most half court shots. Who can throw a perfect full court lob (Kevin Love?). But please no more of that obstable course skill contest.

    Finally, please can the Shooting Stars contest. Its stupid. Instead they should let the Inside the NBA crew do some of their little games. Who he play for? Anything but the Shooting Stars!

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  • Antonio

    Love the Rooks v. D-league, but another game that would be better than the Sophomores would be legends (or simply retired players). It could be either the list of recently retired players mentioned, real legends such as former all-stars only, or some mix, where you could have Magic, Jordan, Dr. J or the like with a bunch of players who just retired recently.

  • Justin

    Nobody seemed to mention this but I always liked the idea of East rookies and sophomores vs. West rookies and sopomores. What do you think?? Not so sure it would have been a good game this year though.

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