While I still believe the NBA has the best skills competitions, 2013 was not a memorable All-Star Saturday night. This year’s contest featured a new format, pitting East vs. West throughout all four competitions. The idea behind it was great, as the teams played for charity, but the format was a failure.
No one cares about East and West in the skills competition, it’s all about individual performances. There are plenty of other ways to give to charities. I just felt like the scoring system took the air out of the competitiveness that is normally in these events. The top teams/performers should move on to the next rounds, not the top performers from each conference.
Secondly, the Houston crowd brought no energy to the table. Some blame falls on the players of course, but the crowd was just not into the competitions from the start. The entire night just didn’t have the normal All-Star Saturday night feel to it.
Lastly, the main event of the evening did not live up to they hype. Plenty of people coming in thought the Dunk Contest would be the best in years, it wasn’t. There were some really good dunks, but no one could throw them down on the first try. Two players took the entire two minutes and still couldn’t get a dunk down. That’s just inexcusable and sad.
The final round did salvage the contest for me, as Terrence Ross and Jeremy Evans dunked it out in pretty spectacular fashion. Evans put on a show, but Ross deservedly won the event after two ridiculous throw-downs. Without those last four dunks, it could have been the worst contest in history.
So what should the NBA do to make next year’s competition better?
This new East vs. West format has got to go, first and foremost – but in addition, more stars need to be in the contests. No one cares about these ‘YouTube dunkers’ as the TNT crew correctly labeled them. People want to see stars during All-Star weekend (LeBron I’m looking in your direction).
Those are just two easy things the league can do to fix All-Star Saturday night. I’m hoping they listen, because I can assure you this is just one from the thousands of negative review articles across the web.