The NBA regular season is still two weeks away, which means All-Star weekend is still four months away, but with the league announcing dramatic format changes to the 2018 All-Star Game in Los Angeles, it’s the hot topic in early October.
The new format will do away with the traditional East vs. West matchup in favor of a playground style draft, in which one captain from the East and West will draft from the entire pool of All-Star voted players, regardless of conference affiliation. In a season in which the East has seen a number of stars like Paul George and Jimmy Butler migrate West, this was probably a wise move from the NBA to pique fans’ interest in a game that would otherwise be tremendously lopsided.
People have floated the idea of having team captains and a draft in the past (as the NHL has done) because with basketball there’s something natural about it. It’s how teams are picked on playgrounds, parks, and gyms across the country, and it will make for some very interesting drama as captains deal with building a team but also their many friendships around the league.
We won’t know what the player pool for the 2018 All-Star Game will be right now, but we can look back at last year’s game and imagine how different it would have looked with these rules. So, that’s what we’ve done, inserting Kevin Durant (picked by Jamie) and LeBron James (picked by Robby) as team captains, and alternating picks until we’d run through the entire 2017 All-Star squads to shuffle them around.
You can see how the draft went below, and our explanation on why we did what we did (trying our best to get in the minds of the two players as they would be in February 2017), with Team LeBron holding the first pick.