The NBA's new format for the All-Star Game is sticking around after a successful debut last season, and this time, it should get even better. That's because, according to a report from Marc Stein, the players have agreed to televise the All-Star Game draft this time around. Via the New York Times:
The National Basketball Association and the N.B.A. Players Association have agreed to televise the playground-style draft in which two captains will select their squads for the 2019 All-Star Game in Charlotte, N.C., according to two people familiar with the plans.
A firm date for the televised draft has not yet been established, but Jan. 30 and 31 have emerged as two potential targets for a TNT broadcast, according to the people, who were not authorized to discuss the plans publicly. The schedule availability of the two captains, once they are identified through fan balloting, is among the variables needed to lock in the broadcast specifics.
The new format for the All-Star Game features two captains -- the leading vote-getter from each conference -- picking their team's playground style from the available pool of All-Stars. The selecting of All-Stars is still done in the traditional format; voting from the fans, players and media determines the starters, while coaches choose the reserves. That pool of players is then drafted by the two captains.
Last year's captains were, unsurprisingly, LeBron James and Steph Curry, and the duo seemed to have a lot of fun. The game went down to the wire, with Team LeBron claiming a narrow 148-145 victory. LeBron even tweeted that the draft was fun, and suggested it should be on TV.
Nearly everyone agreed, and now we'll get our wish. It would be even more fun if the players held the draft literally right before they started playing to simulate a true playground feel, but unfortunately, that's just really not possible with how the event is televised and marketed. Still, it should be all sorts of fun watching the two captains go through the process of choosing their teams.