A little known, but extremely cool, idea for this year’s NBA Rookie-Sophomore Game will be implemented this year. Instead of simply gathering all the rookies and second-year players on to teams and watching them play, the NBA is following the NHL’s lead and having teams picked. That’s right, it’s going to be just like gym class with team captains, except the captains are a thousand times better. They are Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley.
How great is this? Even if Shaq and Barkley were simply the coaches, the game would already be immensely better. Now, we get to watch them pick the teams and give reasons why. Who doesn’t want to see Barkley call someone by the wrong name or Shaq pick up Ricky Rubio and swing him around like a doll?
It’s not just the coaches that make this great, it’s the shakeup of the boring format. That is why the NBA needs to carry this over to the main game. The NBA should do just like the NHL and make the All-Star Game have captains who pick their squads. Think of the fun and intrigue the selections alone would have. For instance, imagine LeBron James and Kobe Bryant as captains. Then we could watch and see if LeBron has the guts to take someone besides Dwyane Wade with his pick, or if Kobe mans up to take a scoring point guard instead of one that will always give him the ball.
Plus, we would get to see players team up that we would never otherwise see. Kobe could see if Dwight Howard would really play better with him than Andrew Bynum, or LeBron could go for 40 points in the All-Star Game with Steve Nash at point dishing 20 assists. Even the younger stars would get in the mix, as we’d get to see Derrick Rose paired with Kevin Durant (good gosh!) or Kevin Love. And don’t forget the vets. How cool would it be to watch Wade and Dirk Nowitzki attempt to play together after two NBA Finals against each other?
The NHL has it right. The All-Star game is about fun and entertainment. It appears as though the NBA is starting to get the hint on ways to make it better, and now they just need to carry it over to the main game to raise the excitement through the roof.
In addition to covering the NFL, MLB, NBA, and College Football for RotoExperts, Jake Ciely (a.k.a "All In Kid") is also a poker fiend and a Maharishi in the world of sports wagering. Jake was a finalist for the FSWA's 2010 Newcomer of the Year award. You may email Jake @ firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @JakeAllinCiely