The 2018 NBA All-Star Game is bound to be one of the most exciting showcases in the history of the event.
Since the league unveiled the new format, the reaction from the NBA community has essentially been split. The player who receives the most votes in each conference will serve as a captain, then required to choose his teammates from a pool of All-Star starters and reserves. Per usual, starters will be determined partially by a fan vote and partially by a player/media vote.
Some have applauded the move for the obvious storylines that it will create. What will happen if teammates square off against each other? Who will be taken first overall? Who will be taken last? The possibilities are endless.
Others have disliked the idea, preferring the existing structure of East versus West more.
As of Thursday night, Golden State Warriors teammates Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant were first and second overall in the Western Conference voting. But, they have wildly-different views about being named captain. One desires it and the other wants nothing to do with it.
“Why not?” Curry told The Athletic. “I’ll be the first to usher in the new system. I used to go to the playground all the time and you wanted to be the guy picking teams. That meant you were something on the court back in the day. It’ll be a cool vibe to see how it all shakes out and how unique you can make the lineups.”
This sentiment echoes Curry’s initial thoughts when the All-Star format was announced.
“I think it’s great for the game to kind of spice it up a little bit, give the fans a little bit more interest in how the teams are going to unfold. It’s great to follow how the 24-man rosters are voted on by the fans and the coaches but now there’s another element of mixing the East and the West and giving different combinations of guys out there on the floor. So it should be a pretty cool vibe to test it out and see how it goes,” he said at the time.
“I don’t want to do it,” Durant admitted. “I’d rather somebody else do it. It’s cool to be an All-Star, but all the extra stuff … I just want to go play in the game. [The new format]’s cool, a different way, a creative way that’s good for the fans. But me, I’ll let somebody else pick the teams.”
Perhaps Durant still has a sour taste in his mouth from last season’s All-Star Game in New Orleans. There, he was booed loudly by the crowd when he was introduced as a starter stemming from his reaction to sign with the Warriors in free agency the previous summer.
LeBron James and Giannis Antetkounmpo led the Eastern Conference voting as of Thursday night. The captains and starters will be revealed on January 18 and the reserves will be announced on January 23 with the full team rosters coming on January 25. Since the All-Star Game will be held on February 18, there will be plenty of time to analyze the entire process in anticipation of watching the sport’s top stars go head-to-head.