NBA All-Star game is only fun when players want to win


NBA All-Star was less than stellar. The most exciting event might have been the Skills Challenge. The best moment was after the 3-point shootout when all those people shot 3-pointers for the Sager Strong Foundation.

I keep hearing about all the things they can do to fix All-Star. Some people suggest bringing in street ballers for the dunk contest. That might actually be a good idea considering this past contest had people casual fans don’t know.

The 3-point shootout is a toss-up. We had some great battles in previous years. This year Klay was off, Wesley Matthews looked terrible, Nick Young was just bad and Kyle Lowry could not hit anything. So it was not as competitive as we thought it would be. They had an off year but I like the format of the competition. Maybe next year will be better.

Now on to the All-Star game. The game was bad overall. There were some nice dunks and the Russ to KD back to Russ for the dunk moment. Yes, there was no defense but that is on the players. Making players put up money for a charity will not make them play harder.

The scores are getting higher because players are taking more 3-pointers. Back in 2008 when LeBron James won MVP, both teams combined shot 55 three pointers. Last year alone the Western Conference shot 80 three pointers.

The competition of the game has changed because there are more players that want the title of All-Star but they don’t really want to play in the game. Their game is not All-Star friendly. For the most part most of these players are on the Eastern Conference and that’s why they have not won the game since 2014 when Kyrie Irving was MVP. It was Irving’s 2nd All-Star appearance and he wanted to put on a show. He also had LeBron and Carmelo Anthony on the team and they like to put on a show as well.

Just look back at the 2015 All-Star game when there were four Atlanta Hawks in the game. None of those players really have All-Star friendly games. Kyle Korver can shoot 3-pointers so he was just launching in what would be his only All-Star appearance.

Some players just don’t fit in an exhibition game where nothing matters. Kawhi Leonard didn’t even play in the 2nd half because he doesn’t fit in a game like that. Sure he said he wanted rest but he’s not going to be out there doing crazy dribble moves or exciting dunks. Jimmy Butler, Paul Millsap are the same way. They don’t fit in an All-Star game. Now a newcomer like Giannis Antetokounmpo is perfect for an All-Star game because he can do so much. Next year he should just jump from the free throw line in the game.

The new All-Stars on the Eastern Conference don’t have the desire to win yet. Isaiah Thomas went at it with Russell Westbrook which was something that is needed at All-Star. Kyrie and Steph went back and forth a little bit. Other than that there was nothing playful and the East had no desire to win. Gone is the days of LeBron, Wade and Carmelo playing big minutes in an All-Star game. LeBron has played less than 20 minutes in back-to-back All-Star games. He goes out there and dunks for a while and then he lets the new guys play, which is great. The new guys have to want the game and then that will make the game more competitive.

Back in the day guys like Allen Iverson wanted to win the game, LeBron and D-Wade wanted to compete against Kobe and win the game. Kyrie wanted to put people on notice that he was nice and he wanted to win the game. In 2001 when Allen Iverson won MVP the East was down 19 points entering the fourth. They outscored the West 41-21 and won by one point. So the game can get out of hand but if guys really want to win they can turn it on.

I want the All-Star game to be crazy fun and wild for three quarters and then in the fourth I want the teams to buckle down a little bit, show a little pride and compete. I also want to see half court shots like LeBron shot the other night. I want to see teams draw up a triple alley-oop or something different than just uncontested dunks.

The All-Star game can be fun again but the players have to want it to be fun. The dunks are nice but fans want to see some competition. Sometimes pride just kicks in and you want to win for the sake of winning. When the Eastern Conference players find that desire then the game will be fun again.