All-Star Low: Three Ways to Make the All-Star Game Competitive Again
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver recently revealed that he spoke to Chris Paul on the phone about ways to make the All-Star Game competitive again.
The Western Conference’s 10-point win may seem like a somewhat close game, but in reality the game was more of a circus show than a basketball game with a final score of 192–182, an All-Star Game points record. Needless to say, defense was an afterthought.
“It is an All-Star Game, and you are out there to have fun,” said Silver, who later added “It shouldn’t be playoff intensity, but the guys should be playing.”
With each passing year, it seems like the ultimate NBA showcase becomes less and less like basketball, and with Adam Silver and Chris Paul discussing ways to increase the intensity, I came up with some ways to do exactly that.
1: All-Star contract incentives only kick in if your team wins
Many NBA players have language in their contract that entitles them to some extra financial compensation if they make the All-Star roster for their respective conference. What if they were only eligible for that bonus if they actually win the game?
While the NBA Players Association would be sure to blow a gasket, this is one way to make the game feel personal for the players and not just an exhibition game. These are the best players on the planet, and at least in theory that should make for a competitive game.
2: Defense goes to charity
NBA players are some of the most charitable individuals in the world, and many have started their own charitable organizations.
The league could make donations to a player’s charity for every time they take a charge or get a steal or block. The league could even go a step beyond this and use player-tracking data to check which players had the most impact defensively, and donate to their preferred causes, as well.
3: Minutes Restrictions for Players
Many players often sit out the game due to injury or choose to only play a handful of minutes, but with the other two incentives I suggested, a good way to ensure that everyone is giving an honest effort would be to limit the amount of time they spend on the court.
If players only have a limited amount of time to have an impact on the game, they will certainly play harder to ensure that their team wins the game and that they get the bonuses they deserve.
If you have any suggestions about potential fixes to the All-Star Game, Adam Silver encouraged people to send him emails to Adam@nba.com.