Do We Really Need to Improve All-Star Weekend?

Do We Really Need to Improve All-Star Weekend?

By: Mark Novakovich

Now that we are a few weeks removed from the All-Star break, the first topic that has been discussed by virtually everyone on social media has been, “What happened to All-Star Weekend?”

…but was it really that bad?

Let’s take a look at the Skills Challenge:

Everyone knows the course, but it was still fairly competitive, and its half court shot ending by Jayson Tatum was exciting to say the least. You can’t really change the course, so we have to understand that this is as good as it’s going to get.

But if we are looking at ways to improve the game, I would argue that they should make this event strictly for guards. Though Nikola Jokic has definitely shown his ability to run an offense these past couple of seasons, pitting him against guys like Jayson Tatum seems a bit unfair. Also, it didn’t make much sense at all that Nikola Vucevic was even in this competition since he’s not known for his playmaking abilities.

Though if the NBA was set on adding big men to the competition, they should do what they did from 2016 through 2018, having two separate brackets for guards and post players. Though I wasn’t a fan of putting post players in it regardless, it makes sense considering the way the NBA has changed. It was just odd this year to see only two big men play despite the fact that more frontcourts now than ever, have the ability to handle the ball.

In reality, the only way you can spice this tournament up without ruining the integrity of the game, would be to do a challenge that includes both types of players evenly, or do a separate competition for big men entirely.

This leads to the Three Point Contest:

There’s nothing wrong with the current game, but if we wanted to try something different then what if we added a separate Three Point Contest consisting of all frontcourt players? More and more Forwards and Centers can shoot the ball from deep, so why don’t we try and add another contest for fun next year? If there are worries about the length of time for the event, just shorten the amount of competitors. You could easily include guys like Al Horford, Joel Embiid, Anthony Davis, Karl-Anthony Towns, and numerous others.

If we really wanted to have fun though, I still suggest that we have a free throw shooting contest between Andre Drummond and Dwight Howard, and “legend” appearances by Shaq and Ben Wallace.

Then there’s the dunk contest, which a lot of people seemed to have a problem with. Look, we were spoiled with the duel between Zach LaVine and Aaron Gordon in 2016. Let’s be honest, we won’t see another classic like that unless we get Zion Williamson next year…

…and then someone creates a time machine to go get prime Vince Carter…

…and one of them dunks from the three point line…over a car…on the moon.

My point is, we have seen virtually everything. When you see one guy jumping over another for the millionth time, we have to just accept the fact that it’s hard to be original and this is the best they can do.

On a side note, can you imagine that jumping over a fully-sized human being isn’t considered impressive anymore? Oh, how far we’ve come.

People complained about this year’s contest but honestly, it was not that bad. It just wasn’t new. There were crazy props (John Collins and his two-foot paper airplane that he broke), there were special guests (JCole’s pass to Dennis Smith Jr. and Cole’s subsequent missed dunk attempt) and some crazy examples of athleticism (Hamidou Diallo’s Honey Dip dunk over Shaq that was arguably better than Vince Carter’s in 2000).

You can’t really change the dunk contest. We’ve already “jumped the shark” on this one. The only thing that can improve it is star power, but that’s up to the players if they want to join in. Right now, it’s a showcase for younger talent to get a spotlight and some are okay with that. Unfortunately, most people aren’t.

There’s also the always hilarious Celebrity All Star Game on Friday, which again would only improve with star power. This year really did boast some talent though, as Quavo came on for the second year in a row along with Ray Allen and Jay Williams. Though in all honesty, there’s never a lot of advertising for it so it’s not as popular as it could potentially be. Also, the Rising Stars Challenge is a must, though there are some arguments to go back to the Rookie-Sophomore version of the game rather than Team World vs. Team U.S.A.

Basically, All Star Weekend can only be changed marginally to satisfy viewers. It is all up to the performers now. Let’s just understand that since we’ve been exposed to some great contests before, everything after it isn’t “trash”. It’s just the bar has been raised so high, and the games have been perfected so much, that we have to appreciate what we get.

…or we can just put the pressure on Zion to save us all… either way…


Featured Photo Credit: Yahoo Sports

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