Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Shooting the breeze. Ideas on tweaking the NBA All-Star Game.

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Shooting the breeze.
Ideas on tweaking the NBA All-Star Game.
by rick olivares

The NBA All-Star Game is done. The East put an end to a three-game skid of the league’s mid-season classic. But there’s the rub.

The format or rules for the annual slam dunk contest has been changed for like what – close to 10 times already?

Even the other events of NBA All-Star Saturday have seen changes as well in the three-point shootout, the two-ball, the skills, and shooting stars competition.

So why not the NBA All-Star Game?

It’s billed as the ultimate pick-up game yet it’s only taken seriously in the final quarter – if it’s even close. I’ve seen pick up games at the park that are way more intense.

But isn’t that the purpose of NBA All-Star Games – for players to relax and have fun? For the fans to see all these players on the court at the same time lob alley-oop passes for monstrous throw downs?

There’s an argument that if the league’s mid-season showcase becomes too competitive players might get injured.

For sure. But is most of the excitement and intrigue more about who is voted into the starting five, who is selected to be a reserve and who is controversially left out?

I know the league examines everything they do and they look at ways to improve things. So maybe we can give them a helping hand by tweaking the NBA All-Star Game.

Doing it the MLB way?
The winner of Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game will get home field advantage for the World Series. Does that have any bearing? Yes, it does. Seven of the last 10 winners secured the home field advantage.

If you look at it for the longest time, in the NBA, the team with the best regular season record, assuming they made the NBA Finals, had the home court advantage. However, since 1985, the middle three games of the finals were given to the team with the lesser regular season record. I recall some league official saying that for one team to be truly be the NBA champion, he has to win on the road. Whether anyone agrees with that I have no idea. However, following that format change, the team with home court advantage (games one, two, six, and seven in their arena) has gone 20-8.

So if for example, the NBA follows MLB’s approach, is it a good idea to award home court advantage to the winning conference?

A poll I took among Facebook friends put it at 14-20. Meaning 14 were for giving that idea a try while 20 were against it.

Those for adopting the MLB’s approach cited how the game has lacked any intensity and become staid unless the score is close in the final quarter.

Those against cited the aforementioned risk of injury and preferred to award the home court advantage to the team that worked its butt off to acquire the best record in the NBA during the regular season.

Playground-style All-Star Game
As I previously wrote, if the All-Star Game is billed as “the ultimate pick-up game”, then why not get the leading vote getter for each conference then choose from a pool determined by fans and coaches on who will comprise their team? The fan, coaches, and players participating in choosing the pool will somewhat ensure that deserving players are among the aspirants. It will also serve as a check and balance.

But this one takes you back to the playground where one chose sides. We could even see the blurring of lines here. Where they choose players based on position regardless of conference.

It could have possibilities.

USA versus the World
Why wait for the Olympics or the FIBA World Cup? We can have a preview right here of what’s to come.

On one side, you’ll have the 12 best Americans and on the other side the best international players plying their trade in the Association.

Now this will add a great deal of interest especially to those residing outside North America. The media credentials for this will go up for sure.

Again, these are just ideas. I am not advocating for anything. I am also sure that the league also has their own. But this is all part of the fun when it comes to discussing and debating about sports.

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