The Fatal Flaw of the NBA’s New ‘Captain’ All-Star Format

The NBA unveiled sweeping changes to its All-Star Game format on Tuesday, announcing that the 67th edition of the midseason showcase will be the first not to pit an East team against a West team and that top vote-getters will serve as captains to select the two squads. Presented with an opportunity to reimagine a lagging event, the league and its players unfortunately settled for creating a spectacle rather than overhauling its broken selection process.

Why? Read the fine print. The NBA didn’t actually get rid of West All-Stars and East All-Stars, they just got rid of the West and East names on the jerseys. Indeed, the 2018 All-Star selection process will be exactly the same as last year: a fan, player and media vote will select five starters from each conference while a coaches’ vote will select the remaining seven reserves from each conference. Those 24 players will then be thrown into a pool from which two captains—the leading vote-getter in the West and East—will get to pick their teams.

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