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The NBA All-Star Game draft takes a surprising new twist

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People complain that the NBA All-Star Game lacks drama. The league just guaranteed the pregame would have drama.

The NBA changed its traditional East vs. West All-Star format in 2017. Instead of dividing players by geography, the top voters in each conference draft start and reserve themselves.

In the past, the draft has taken place on TNT, with the “Inside The NBA” watching, judging and heckling.

And sometimes there was drama, usually based on captains and their former teammates: LeBron James with Kyrie Irving, or Kevin Durant and James Harden last year.

Days after Harden forced a Brooklyn Nets trade from Durant, Durant spurned The Beard’s drafting seven times, sticking him to Team LeBron.

But while the draft provided moments of levity – like when Giannis Antetokounmpo accused James of “tampering” – the league apparently wants more face-to-face confrontation.

Based on the fifth round of fan voting, it looks like James and Antetokounmpo will once again be captains, although Durant is only ahead of the Greek Freak by just over 100,000 votes.

As the main vote-getter, James may have to choose between teammate Anthony Davis, former and future teammate Kyrie Irving or rivals Durant and Steph Curry. If James doesn’t pick AD, he’ll have to look Davis straight in the eye, or forehead, as he does.

Durant still hopes to return from his knee injury in time to make the All-Star Game.

It’s a sign that the NBA is still willing to experiment with All-Star Weekend, like when it introduced a new “Elam Ending” format in 2020, where teams play to a target score in the final quarter.

This addressed concerns about the competitiveness of the exhibit, which had become notorious for its helpless blowouts.

Who does it hurt? Players selected last in each round, in front of fellow All-Stars and an international television audience.

Our advice? Start sucking LeBron and Giannis now. Telling James how much you liked “Space Jam: Legacy” or that you’re considering opening a Blaze Pizza franchise could mean the difference between being picked fourth or last.

Sports Grp1

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