Much has been said about the state of the NBA's All-Star game festivities, namely the All-Star game itself. Over the years, the game has turned from the best players from each conference going at it for 48 minutes (check the 2003 ASG), to the league's best players chucking up threes for the majority of the game, with the West more often than not blowing the East out.
Because of this, and the vocal majority who were sick of watching such a product, the NBA introduced some new rules for 2018's rendition of the All-Star game in Los Angeles on Tuesday.
Under the new system, two captains will draft teams out of a pool of players voted in as starters and reserves. The leading vote-getter from each conference will serve as a captain, and will get to hand-pick their sides out of each pool.
The selection process will remain the same, with 12 players from each conference being voted in and starters selected by a combo of fan vote, player vote and media vote. Head coaches will again select the 14 reserve spots.
In addition, the teams will play for local charities, adding incentive in theory to win the game.
Sounds good in theory right? We can only hope the product of such rule changes is as good as what most fans have been imagining. The 'drafting' portion of the game could possibly be more entertaining, and the NBA would be stupid not to cash in on the hype and televise the event.
The new rule changes got me thinking though, what would past All-Star games look like if these rules had been the norm? It's an interesting concept, as a lot of drama has unfolded over the past offseason which makes the hypothetical drafting process last year much different to what it could be this season.
I'll be using the same voting ballot from last year, so all the players will have the same amount of votes as they garnered in real life. Without further ado, here's what 2017's All-Star game would look like with the new 2018 rules.
A lot doesn't change in terms of captaincy for the 2017 ASG, as the majority are projecting both Curry and LeBron will be leading their conferences in votes come February 2018.
LeBron, as usual, received the most votes out of any player last season, coming in with a grand total of 1,893,751. James' then-teammate Kyrie Irving and the Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo were the closest to stealing LBJ's captain status with 1,696,769 and 1,604,463 votes respectively.
Two-time MVP Steph Curry got the most votes in the West last year with 1,848,121 votes in his name. The West was way more competitive when it came to the captaincy, as 7 players all tallied over one million votes compared to the East's three. Among those seven were James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Kawhi Leonard, and Golden State teammates Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and Zaza Pachulia.
In last year's game, the starters for both the East and West were voted in as such:
- Kyrie Irving - 1,696,769 votes
- DeMar DeRozan - 769,112 votes
- LeBron James - 1,893,751 votes
- Jimmy Butler - 691,072 votes
- Giannis Antetokounmpo - 1,604,463 votes
- Steph Curry - 1,848,121 votes
- James Harden - 1,771,375 votes
- Kevin Durant - 1,768,185 votes
- Kawhi Leonard - 1,058,399 votes
- Anthony Davis - 974,802 votes
That means all of Irving, DeRozan, Butler, Antetokounmpo, Harden, Durant, Leonard and Davis would be in a pool for both LeBron and Steph to choose from. Here's how it'd go down.
Note: I'm assuming the draft would be held in serpentine format to promote fairness between both teams.
1. LeBron - Kyrie Irving
2. Curry - Kevin Durant
3. Curry - Anthony Davis
4. LeBron - Kawhi Leonard
5. LeBron - James Harden
6. Curry - Jimmy Butler
7. Curry - Giannis Antetokounmpo
8. LeBron - DeMar DeRozan
LeBron chooses Kyrie first, as at this point, both are happy as can be on the same team, and LeBron is a model teammate (whether you believe that or not is up to you.) Curry, now picking two in a row, chooses teammate Kevin Durant, and the only big man voted in as a starter, Anthony Davis, citing an early height advantage.
For LeBron's next two picks, James goes with the best defensive player available to stop Durant, Kawhi Leonard, and follows that up with another shooter and someone who can create their own shot, James Harden.
With Steph's final two picks out of the pool of starters, the point guard goes with Butler to limit the damage from missing out on picking up Kawhi, and goes with the lengthy Giannis to add some more height and wingspan to his squad. Unfortunately for Raptors fans, LeBron has to go with DeRozan to finish off the starter rounds, with both squads looking like this.
- Kyrie Irving
- DeMar DeRozan
- James Harden
- Kawhi Leonard
- LeBron James
- Steph Curry
- Jimmy Butler
- Giannis Antetokounmpo
- Kevin Durant
- Anthony Davis
With the coaches still selecting 7 reserves for each conference, nothing changes here in terms of players.
LeBron will be picking first again, following the same serpentine format so both teams are even.
9. LeBron - Kevin Love
10. Curry - Klay Thompson
11. Curry - Russell Westbrook
12. LeBron - DeMarcus Cousins
13. LeBron - Draymond Green
14. Curry - Paul George
15. Curry - Isaiah Thomas
16. LeBron - John Wall
17. LeBron - DeAndre Jordan
18. Curry - Gordon Hayward
19. Curry - Marc Gasol
20. LeBron - Kemba Walker
21. LeBron - Paul Millsap
22. Curry - Kyle Lowry
LeBron again starts off proceedings with another Cavs pick, choosing Kevin Love even though MVP candidate Russell Westbrook was on the board. Curry follows that up by choosing his own splash brother Klay Thompson, but then goes against the grain, skipping over Draymond Green to pick up Westbrook after an intense discussion with Durant.
LeBron's eyes light up, and in need of some big bodies, goes the way of DeMarcus Cousins and Green, bolstering his front court. With ooh's and ahh's coming from the crowd, Curry follows up with a swingman in the form of Paul George and another point guard in Isaiah Thomas.
After a discussion with Boogie, LeBron goes the way of John Wall, as both Cousins and Wall were former teammates at Kentucky. James then goes for DeAndre Jordan, trying to close the size gap between the East and West. With the West already full of godly point guard talent, Curry skips on the point guards left, opting for both Gordon Hayward and Marc Gasol to give Anthony Davis some help down low.
With LeBron's final two picks, and with the East's only two point guards being Kyrie and Wall, James goes with Kemba Walker, and follows that up with Paul Millsap, suddenly having a roster that towers over the West's duo of big men.
Once again, with the final pick, a Raptor by the name of Kyle Lowry is chosen by Steph, with Drake up in arms on the sidelines in disgust. It's not all bad news though, as Lowry will be going home with a new 2018 Kia Optima for being the last player chosen.
After the draft has concluded, here's how each roster looks:
BC - Backcourt, FC - Frontcourt, R - Reserve
- BC - Kyrie Irving
- BC - DeMar DeRozan
- FC - James Harden
- FC - Kawhi Leonard
- FC - LeBron James
- R - Kevin Love
- R - DeMarcus Cousins
- R - Draymond Green
- R - John Wall
- R - DeAndre Jordan
- R - Kemba Walker
- R - Paul Millsap
- BC - Steph Curry
- BC - Jimmy Butler
- FC - Giannis Antetokounmpo
- FC - Kevin Durant
- FC - Anthony Davis
- R - Klay Thompson
- R - Russell Westbrook
- R - Paul George
- R - Isaiah Thomas
- R - Gordon Haward
- R - Marc Gasol
- R - Kyle Lowry
So there you have it. With both teams complete, that only leaves the game to be played, and judging by the rosters, I have a feeling it'd be a lot closer than 2017's actual final score of 192-182 in the West's favor. In terms of All-Star Game MVP, a group of Giannis, Durant, Westbrook and even Draymond Green may all have a chance at the trophy, as well as 2017's actual winner, Anthony Davis.
With the new rules in place, I cannot honestly wait until February rolls around, as the new format could possibly be the most fun-filled part of the season if things go to plan.