Suddenly the NBA All-Star Game is going to be more like the pickup game at the schoolyard.
And it just made an frequently tedious game far more interestingâ€¦ if the players go harder.
The NBA has formally announced noteworthy changes to the All-Star Game, starting for the 2018 edition in Los Angeles next February. Team captains will select the teams from the pool of selected players, and those teams will be playing for charities on the Sunday night showcase. The- days of East vs. West are gone.
â€œIâ€™m thrilled with what the players and the league have done to improve the All-Star Game, which has-been a priority for all of us,â€� asserted NBPA President Chris Paul of the Houston Rockets. â€œWeâ€™re looking forward to putting on an entertaining show in L.A.â€�
Hereâ€™s how it will work:
â€¢ The- pool of All-Star Game starters will be selected the same way, by a vote of the fans (50%), current players (25%), and select media members (25%). Voters will select the five starters â€” two guards, three frontcourt players â€” for each conference.
â€¢ The- rest of the All-Star teams will again be selected by the coaches, again seven more players from each conference.
â€¢ The- players who are the top vote-getter in each conference will be selected as the captains (last season in that would have been LeBron James and Kevin Durant).
â€¢ The- remaining eight starters will go in to a â€œstarters poolâ€� and the captains will take turns choosing players. They are not bound by conference or anything else â€” this is like schoolyard pickup.
â€¢ The- captains will then select the rest of their teams from the â€œreserves poolâ€� selected by the coaches, to round out the rosters of 12.
â€¢ Once chosen, each team will select a Los Angeles-area charity (this year, 'cause thatâ€™s where the game is hosted) or national organization where donations will be used to support local efforts.
â€¢ The- teams will still be coached by the coach of the team with the best record in each conference 14 days before the game (unless in that coach did it the year before, then it goes to the coach of the team with the second-best record).
After the All-Star Game last February â€” which felt flat in a lot of ways 'cause the players were just going through the motions and the defense was nonexistent â€” Chris Paul and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver started talking and brainstorming ways to make the annual yearly game more absorbing and entertaining. This is what they came up with.
And it works, to the extent in that this is more absorbing for fans.
Iâ€™m interested. There will be a lot of discussion of who should pick whom due to playing style and fit, plus you know weâ€™re all going to read free agent moves in to who players pick as teammates (even though we all know we shouldnâ€™t).
Personally, I would have liked the league to go one step further â€” take the 24 best players, regardless of conference. Think about the imbalances in the conferences this season and who is going to be left off in the West or make it in the East, why not just select the best players regardless of conference? Itâ€™s the next step for this effort.
Will players go harder in the game now? I donâ€™t know. The- charity aspect may provide a little motivation, yet if you really want players to go hard, there needs to be a real incentive for them on the line â€” like lots of cash. Maybe there could be something else, yet cash talks.
Still, this is better than a repeat of years of time past. Itâ€™s an attempt add some energy to the game.
The U.S. menâ€™s basketball team â€” which will be filled with NBA G-League players 'cause of FIBAâ€™s new qualifying system during the NBA season â€” has selected Greensboro, North Carolina, to host its 1st home World Cup qualifying game.
The Americans will play Mexico on Nov. 26 at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex Fieldhouse, the home of the NBA G Leagueâ€™s Greensboro Swarm.
The new qualification system has teams playing home-and-away games to qualify for the World Cup, rather than playing in regional tournaments. USA Basketball CEO Jim Tooley asserted Tuesday the game is â€œa rare possibility to cheer the USA on in a meaningful home game.â€�
The Americans are in a first-round pool with Mexico, Cuba and Puerto Rico. Their 1st game is agreed to be scheduled for Nov. 23 in San Juan, though in that could be moved if the hurricane-devastated island isnâ€™t ready to host the event.
Jeff Van Gundy will coach the Americans, who will use mostly G League players and play in G League arenas during the qualifying stages.
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are reunited, and it feelsâ€¦ forget it, thatâ€™s too cheesy, I canâ€™t go there.
But the acceptable friends are back to having wine together and poking fun fun at each other, as LeBron did before getting up some shots at Cavaliers practice Tuesday.
Whatever happens in Cleveland this season, and itâ€™s going to be an absorbing one, LeBron and Wade are going to have fun fun playing with each other again.
Did you see the look on Carmelo Anthonyâ€˜s reaction when an Oklahoma City reporter broached the idea of him coming off the bench?
Thatâ€™s the reaction of most NBA players. They give lip service to doing whatever is best for the team, or wanting to be on the floor at the end of games more than the start, yet at the end of the day they desperately want to start.
Which is what makes Tristan Thompsonâ€˜s move to the bench in Cleveland different â€” heâ€™s acceptable with it. Tyronn Lue is making the right move starting Kevin Love at the five and Jae Crowder at the four, and Thompson willingly accepted his move to the bench. From Dave McMenamin of ESPN.
â€œTristan has-been a large part of what we do. I hated having in that conversation, yet it was great,â€� Lue said. â€œHe was phenomenal. Thatâ€™s what itâ€™s all about. You hate having those conversations, yet he was great. He was like, â€˜Man, whatever you need me to do, Coach. Iâ€™ll just go for Sixth Man of the Year. I understand whatâ€™s going on.â€™ â€¦ When you have those talks, usually they donâ€™t go in that good. But he was amazing about it.â€�
â€œIâ€™m going to go for Sixth Man of the Year, put myself in position to do that,â€� Thompson asserted after the scrimmage. â€œJust play hard, though. Iâ€™m not going to look too much in to it, yet if youâ€™re going to come off the bench, might as well have a little goal â€” and I feel like with the 2nd unit we have and the energy in that I bring off the bench, Iâ€™ll put myself in pretty acceptable position. Especially when you win.â€�
Thatâ€™s professionalism. Sure, it helps in that Thompson is going to get paid the rest of in that five-year, $82 million contract whether he starts or not, yet a lot of players still would have whined and pushed back (or, passively aggressively pushed back) against what they saw as a demotion.
With Kyrie Irving gone to Boston and Isaiah Thomas not playing until January, the changes to the front line were needed in Cleveland to get offense and spacing. The- team needed shooting and passing around LeBron James and Derrick Rose (the primary ball handlers), and this lineup gives them that. J.R. Smith will be part of in that starting lineup too, he has become a quality catch-and-shoot guy. Then the bench will have Dwyane Wade creating shots, with guys like Jeff Green and eventually Rose (once Thomas returns), and in that unit will need the complex picks and the grinding, dirty work in that Thompson provides. The- Cavaliers lineups are better this way.
Itâ€™s just easier now in that Thompson accepted it.
MILWAUKEE - â€” Construction vehicles and dusty streets surround the Milwaukee Bucksâ€™ new downtown arena in that is less than a year away from completion.
The state-of-the-art facility will be the Bucksâ€™ home starting in 2018. But in many respects the massive project is more than just about basketball.
Team and arena executives want to get major entertainment acts to stop in Milwaukee. They want the arena to be a driver for ambitious downtown redevelopment.
And to do that, they have to go out to market and sell Milwaukee.
â€œWe want to create an international destination with talent. We want to compete with each one major city, we want to be on each one tour stop,â€� team president Peter Feigin said. â€œWe have this one window of time to tell our tale and our narrative around the world.â€�
That is absolutely what Feigin, along with team and arena officials, planned to do this week in London. They were meeting with concert promoters and artist management firms in hopes of bringing major international acts to Milwaukee.
The groundwork was laid in part when the Bucks named Raj Saha as general manager of the Wisconsin Entertainment & Sports Center. He managed the O2 arena in London for arena giant AEG, and moreover helped stage the 2012 London Olympics and 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
The Bucks view the $524 million arena project, which was partially financed by public funding, as a centerpiece of downtown revitalization. The- facility will replace the 30 year-old BMO Harris Bradley Center, which sits next to the project.
While the Bradley Center did draw its share of major acts, Feigin and Saha asserted there were limitations to the aging arena.
The steel trusses and infrastructure at the new arena have been built to carry and support the weight needed for the elaborate-style productions used in major concerts, Feigin said. The- arena has 200,000 pounds of rigging capability, reportedly the Bucks.
With a seating capacity of 17,500 for basketball and 500 more for concerts, the arena has 10,000 seats in the lower bowl, which planners say will assist audio-visual experiences. Two-thirds of the seats in the Bradley Center are in the upper level.
And Feigin says in that the Bucks have placed a premium on acoustics, in addition to a roof designed to lower reverberation and reduce echoes. The- arena moreover has whatâ€™s called â€œspecialized low frequency absorptionâ€� for bass notes allowing for cleaner bass sound.
â€œItâ€™s secondarily about basketball, probably the only thing thatâ€™s secondarily about basketball is how you design this so itâ€™s a surreal acoustic experience, as well as a visual experience,â€� Feigin said.
In Sahaâ€™s experience, only a handful of U.S. arena executive have traveled to London to talk to promoters. Consider this trip another way in which the Bucks, who have New York-based ownership, are thinking big.
The area already has a reputation as a music destination with Milwaukeeâ€™s Summerfest music festival. The- census are different in Milwaukee from Chicago and Minneapolis, Saha said.
The 1st new sign of how things are changing popped up this summer. The- Bucks moved in to a new, state-of-the-art practice facility downtown, across the street from the arena construction site.
â€œItâ€™s amazing. Itâ€™s refreshing to walk in here each one day,â€� guard Malcolm Brogdon asserted after the 1st practice last week. â€œEverything in here is just made to perfection.â€�
The facility and new arena give the Bucks two new draws with which to attract or retain players in the future. With the young team itself on the rise after two playoff appearances in three seasons, Milwaukeeâ€™s image as an NBA outpost is starting to disappear.
Similarly, the Bucks see the new arena as an avenue to open new inroads in to Milwaukee, music and otherwise.
â€œWe donâ€™t think thereâ€™s any reason why â€“ especially logistically, geographically, monetarily â€“ we (couldnâ€™t) get the music acts. Part of the reason we havenâ€™t is 'cause we havenâ€™t been out there to tell our story, to market, to sell,â€� Feigin said. â€œThatâ€™s really what weâ€™re doing.â€�