All-Star Weekend Needs Something New
All-Star Friday, and Saturday night were without being too harsh, boring. There was little to no drama or excitement from the Three-Point Contest, the Skills Competition or the event everyone came to see the, Slam Dunk Contest. In the past, blame has been put on the participants, but with players having the ability to decline invites, there is little the NBA can do in that regard. This year the NBA pitted the Eastern Conference against the Western Conference in a point system based on how well each conference did in each competition. The new format made for more dialogue but garnered no new interest in the events. What the NBA needs to do to spice up Saturday night, is to bring the Legends Game back and (re)introduce a One-on-One Competition.
During the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge on Friday night, Kyrie Irving and Brandon Knight took over the game with a few minutes remaining and essentially played one-on-one. The ball was inbounded to Kyrie he dribbled up stop short of the three point line and began a series of incredible dribbling moves attempting to get by Knight. The video below shows it WAY better then I could explain:
Then Brandon Knight attempted the same thing down on the other end of the court. This simple back and fourth will be all anyone remembers from All-Star Friday, and Saturday night this year. The moment had the crowd engaged and on their feet. NBA players court side were amped up, and just listen to Chris Webber on the video.
The NBA tried one-on-one back in 1972, and 73′ during the halftimes of the Playoffs, and there was even a cash reward for the winner, a whopping $15,000. This was before the Commissioner Stern era began, and with his departure around the corner, the possibility of new things will emerge.
Adding this event to All-Star Weekend would bolster an All-Star Weekend that has lost its luster. Players would be invited as with other events and the rules could be similar to the 70’s games. There would be a 10-second shot clock and the first to 15 wins, with shots behind the three-point line worth two pints, and of course a referee. The NBA has done a phenomanal job focusing the NBA on team play and away from individuality, but it is those individuals that make the game, and them going one-on-one would be phenomenal.
Kobe vs. Carmelo, Chris Paul vs. Rondo, Durant vs. LeBron, and if the big names pass then, Kyrie Irving vs, Brandon Knight, or Damian Lillard vs. Eric Bledsoe.