In 2018, the NBA gave the All-Star Game a massive facelift after opting to abandon the Eastern Conference vs. Western Conference format that had served as the standard since the inaugural showdown was held all the way back in 1951.
The new approach involved appointing two designated captains to the opposing teams and giving them the opportunity to set their roster by drafting from the available pool of players until the lineups were solidified.
The NBA neglected to televise the All-Star draft when it was first introduced, but the league wisely decided to let fans watch LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo announce their selections on national television the following year.
That decision ultimately led to one of the more entertaining NBA All-Star moments in recent memory thanks to what transpired last year when Kevin Durant was forced to pick between Rudy Gobert and James Harden when naming the last man for his team.
It had only been a few hours since Harden was traded to the 76ers after forcing his way out of Brooklyn, and LeBron hid his face behind a clipboard because of how hard he was laughing after realizing Durant’s obvious decision to go with Gobert as opposed to his former teammate meant the guard was the last person selected in the All-Star draft.
Sadly, it appears we won’t be treated to a similar “incident” this year based on the latest overhaul the NBA has instituted.
On Thursday night’s installment of Inside the NBA, Ernie Johnson revealed the league has opted to rework Sunday’s All-Star draft so the reserves are selected before the starters, which he implied was a move that’s theoretically designed prevent the last man standing from having their feelings hurt.
This seems like a bit of a half-measure, as there is still someone in the “Reserves” category who will ultimately be picked last when everything is said and done.
However, plenty of fans still voiced their displeasure with the move, while others noted it was probably unnecessary when you consider just how fragile your ego would have to be to genuinely be mad about being the last All-Star to get scooped up.
great idea nobody will piece together the last reserve pick would be the last pick
— Biz (@Stambreezy) February 17, 2023
The "who got picked last" talk is the only reason we watch the All-Star draft. https://t.co/z2XI6UkMoB
— Gifdsports (@gifdsports) February 17, 2023
If I was the last pick in the All Star draft, I wouldn’t care one bit. I’m one of the top 30 players in the NBA
— kap (@hopefulmetsfan) February 17, 2023
This is honestly kind of embarrassing. These are All-Stars! It's not the last picked kid on the kindergarten playground! Everyone knows that everyone there is awesome. There shouldn't be hurt feelings over the five minutes of Twitter jokes that follow a totally arbitrary draft. https://t.co/VzrC08OYJK
— Sam Quinn (@SamQuinnCBS) February 17, 2023
I guess we’ll just have to wait and see if this has the intended effect.