The NBA All-Star Game is finally doing something to make it a little more interesting. Taking a page from the NHL’s book, the 2018 version of the mid-season spectacle will be the first in a long time to not feature the Eastern Conference versus the Western Conference.
Instead, team captains LeBron James and Steph Curry will pick teams. They don’t have to adhere to Conference affiliation, although they are required to pick the eight players voted as “Starters” before they move on to the fourteen players in the “Reserves” pool. It will create some drama, as fans and the media will get to watch subplots like whether LeBron will select Kyrie Irving after their messy summer divorce or whether Curry will successfully draft Golden State teammates Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green.
Unfortunately, the NBA didn’t follow the NHL’s model of airing the draft on television. Apparently, they didn’t want anyone to get hurt feelings by being picked last. The NHL draft once famously had Toronto Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel languishing away on the board in 2011 when captains Eric Staal and Nicklas Lidstrom waited until the final pick of the draft to select him (he won a car and $20,000 from sponsor Honda for the trouble, so it wasn’t all bad).
Klay Thompson wants the NBA to follow suit.
When speaking to the media after Tuesday night’s win against the Knicks, Thompson urged the NBA to air the All-Star draft — just so everyone can heckle the last pick.
“I wish they would announce it publicly, because I think it would be hilarious who was the last pick,” Thompson said.
He also said the politically correct thing when asked whether to will be campaigning for Curry to draft him early, saying he’s just happy to be named an All-Star again (his fourth year in a row) and doesn’t care which team he ends up on.