The NBA is trying to add all-star game drama by moving player draft just before the game

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The NBA has slightly changed its annual All-Star Draft. In years past, the draft came weeks before the All-Star Game, so players and fans know who’s playing for which team well in advance. That should change this season. The league announced on TNT Tuesday that this season’s draft will be held live at 7:30 p.m. ET, just before the Feb. 19 All-Star Game tipoff.

The mechanics of the draft will not change. The two captains are the players in each conference who receive the most fan votes. Right now, those players are LeBron James and Kevin Durant. These players then each draw four more starters from the designated pool of starters, followed by seven reserve players each from the designated pool of 14 reserve players. Coaches are assigned in advance, with the No. 1 seeded coach in each conference joining the captain of that conference.

The change adds a bit of drama to the process. While the draft has previously served as a fun event weeks in advance, on the day of the All-Star Game, there could actually be some bad blood among players just before they have to speak out. Now the players who were picked last must play through this embarrassment right away.

In the end, it’s just a small change to a relatively new event. It’s unclear what preceded the decision, although one possibility is the awkward moment in last year’s draft where Durant, as one of the captains, refused to draft James Harden, whom his Brooklyn Nets sold earlier that day. Regardless, in recent years the NBA has shown a willingness to tweak the All-Star formula to see what works. If this change proves beneficial, it will continue into future seasons. The NBA is trying to add all-star game drama by moving player draft just before the game

Chris Estrada

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