After watching the NBA All-Star Weekend the past few days I've decided, from my point of view, that something needs to be changed.
For the most part it was pretty boring; long on hype, short on entertainment. It's almost gotten to the point where the actual all star game is second to everything else. They seldom have been great games anyway, even though this years was better than most.
Just look at all the events over the weekend. Endless jabber and the NBA just building itself up.
I used to really like the contests that take place in the days before the game, but either I have changed or those are just not what they used to be.
And my problem with it is is that so few American NBA players have real basic basketball skills anymore, and these contests just reinforce to kids that jamming the ball through the rim or hitting a shot from 30 feet are the way to be good basketball players.
I think they should change these contests. First of all do away with the slam dunk junk. Almost everyone who plays at that level can jam it nowadays and there are only so many ways it can be done and be entertaining.
As for the three point shooting contest, I think it is basically good, but change the format. Have them take 20 shots, from various places on the court. Have each player teamed up with a defensive player, who guards one of the opposition during the shooting. (Defensive players would have to be not more than two inches taller than the shooter they were guarding). I think that would be more interesting. The winning pair (determined by the best shooting) would then split the money.
There could be a dribbling contest. Who could make it down the court the fastest while using a legal dribble, fanciest dribbles, trickiest dribbles, maybe combine them all into a skills contest along with some kind of assist contest.
Or how about a basketball version of the triathlon. Shooting, dribbling, passing? It would certainly be more interesting than watching guys almost seven feet tall stuffing the ball through the net. There could be an award for the player with the best basics; you know a "Mr. Basketball" kind of title. That, in some ways, would be more important than the MVP of the all-star game.
I like the rookie-sophomore game format on the day before the regular all-star game. But I have to admit I do miss the old legends game. I know, some of the old timers were about killed doing it, but it was fun seeing guys like John Havilicek and Walt Frazier running up and down the court again, even if they can't play very well anymore.
I also don't like the way the starting five are picked for the game. True NBA is entertainment and paid for by the fans, but if the coaches voted instead, I bet the makeup of both teams would be very different.
Admittedly, I have not followed the league as much this year, but some of the names on that all-star roster were really unfamiliar to me. That may be my fault, but as I looked at some of their stats, I could think of two or three players who had better ones who should have been there.
The Sporting News had the all snub team listed on their website last week. It was a team made up of players who probably should have been in the all-star game, but weren't.
Anyway, nobody is going to change anything because a small town writer like me thinks they should. But it is a thought.
One final thought. Are you as glad as I am that Michael Jordan is going to be gone after this year?