Sports

The Way the NBA All Star Weekend Should Be

By February 17, 2012 No Comments

It was announced yesterday that the participants in the NBA Slam Dunk contest would be Chase Budinger, Paul George, Iman Shumpert, and Derrick Williams. These four selections get me about as excited as when I have to watch the Notebook with my girlfriend. David Stern is sitting on a golden opportunity and is totally dropping the ball. With the lockout negatively effecting the perception of the NBA they need to do anything they can to try and get back in the good graces of fans they have, fans they lost, and people who care less about the NBA.

In a perfect world the NBA All Star festivities would have only three competitions: the Slam Dunk contest, Three Point Shootout, and a One on One competition. This gives fans everything that they want to know/see: who is the best dunker, who is the best shooter, and who is best at One on One. The idea of adding a one on one competition is nothing new. Bill Simmons has written about it before and pretty much anyone who follows the NBA would love to see this. The way that it would need to be structured is that you could feature just one position per year (ex. all shooting guards or big men). That way we can see who is best at each position. Sort of  like the Olympics, every four years you could have an All NBA One on One contest that features that top two or three players at each position (guard, forward, center) for the title of best One on One player in the NBA. Yes please!

Here’s who I would want to see in each of the three All Star competitions that I proposed:

Slam Dunk Contest:
First off, this would revert back to the format from when Jordan and Nique’ did the contest. Eight participants and you get two dunks in the first round (unless you miss one and then you can replace your miss). From there the top four advance. In the second round you get three dunks and the top two advance. In the Finals you once again get three dunks. This format was super exciting back then so why mess with something that is proven to work.

It is a shame that the current crop of NBA players think of the Slam Dunk contest as highly as they do of driving a Ford Focus. When I was growing up in the 80’s the Slam Dunk contest was the thing to be in and included many of the big name stars: Dominique Wilkins, Michael Jordan, Clyde Drexler. Even in the early 90’s many of the players that you wanted to see participated: Shawn Kemp, a young Kobe Bryant, Vince Carter (he was in 2000). That has to change or else this contest just doesn’t have the same lure to it. Here’s who I’d want to see in it (in no order):

1. Blake Griffin
2. Lebron James
3. Josh Smith
4. Dwight Howard
5. Russell Westbrook
6. DeAndre Jordan
7. Dwayne Wade
8. Andre Iguodala

The dunk contest should feature big name guys and this most definitely has those names. The Slam Dunk contest used to be a badge of honor. This would help restore that and actually get people talking about it again. Also, no more use of stupid props like Blake Griffin did last year with that Kia. If you really want to impress me light something on fire, jump from the three point line, or have an alligator pit in the middle of the lane.

Three Point Shootout:
The format for the Three Point Shootout is fine but they need to work on the participants. It’s nice to see guys like Craig Hodges and Jason Kapono win but quite frankly those names aren’t going to get people to watch. I want the Super Stars! Here’s who I’d want to see in it:

1. Ray Allen
2. Lebron James
3. Kobe Bryant
4. Dirk Nowitzki
5. Brandon Jennings
6. Kevin Durant
7. Kevin Love
8. Deron Williams

Talk about a loaded lineup. I know that Lebron isn’t the best three point shooter but since he is the best player in the NBA then him trying to win both the Slam Dunk and Three Point contest would be an intriguing story line. It’s never been done before and since Lebron doesn’t have any titles adding this to his resume would look good. Seeing Kevin Love in there would be interesting because of his size. The casual fan probably has no idea that Kevin Love is both a big time rebounder and good outside shooter. He is currently 23rd in the NBA in three point attempts despite being 6’10” and averaging 14.1 boards.

One on One:
The NBA needs to keep riding the Linsanity and get Jeremy Lin involved in NBA All Star weekend somehow. Having him be the assist guy for Iman Shumpert during the Slam Dunk contest is definitely not the way. That is some weak sauce. What better way to exploit the NBA’s version of Tim Tebow then by kicking off the first ever One on One competition of just point guards. Jeremy Lin + a new competition = ratings gold. The format could be pretty simple. First to five points counting only ones in the first two rounds plus the players call their own fouls. In the Finals you play to seven and have to win by two. Just imagine the potential drama that could build if two Super Stars are tied up at 13. These NBA players are hyper competitive and once they got on the court the intensity could really build. Because the players are calling their own fouls there could be a lot of added drama/tension depending on if someone called a foul on game point. I’m getting a sports boner just thinking about this. Here’s who I’d want to see in it:

1. Chris Paul
2. Jeremy Lin
3. Derrick Rose (he’s dinged up now so he likely wouldn’t participate. He’d be replaced by Ricky Rubio)
4. Rajon Rondo
5. Steve Nash
6. Tony Parker
7. John Wall
8. Deron Williams

I would have included Russell Westbrook in there but I don’t think of him as a true point guard. All of these other guys average more than 7.6 assists and Westbrook is only at 5.5. I think that he would be a better fit playing against the shooting guards.

See David Stern it’s not that hard. You had the power to cancel games so use that power to get the All Star weekend up to the level it should be at. The league will be better for it and you may actually get back some of the fans that you lost.

Rob Cressy

Rob Cressy

Sports loving free throw specialist and yinzer living in Chicago who is awesome most of the time, has run with the bulls in Spain, and is a graduate of Second City's Improv program.