I’m assuming there’s a reason things are the way they are that I just don’t understand yet, but until it either changes or I figure it out, the NBA All-Star voting process is officially my new nemesis (you’re off the hook Gypsy That Cursed Paul Millsap).
Where do we begin?
The last time a basketball team played a game with precisely two guards, two forwards and a center was long before any player on these ballots (Shaquille O’Neal, I assume) was considered a professional athlete. The end result is an often awkward formation of players setting foot on the court for the game’s first few minutes.
Granted the head coaches can, and naturally do mix the line-up around so that it actually looks like a real line-up (at least part of the time), but the process has evolved to the point where the recognition is hardly considered much of a recognition at all. With all of the limitations of the current format the third best player in a conference (most likely a forward) could lose out on a starting spot while a bum gets the nod at center (Antonio Davis, I don’t mean to single you out, but I’m singling you out).
Considering the fact that there’s little clear-cut alternative for eliminating positions altogether, it might make some sense to at least modify the position classifications. Recall the hit NES ice hockey title, aptly titled Ice Hockey. For those unfortunately out of the “know”, the game began when you assembled your anonymous team of anxious players of various shapes and sizes. In other words, you chose whether you wanted any combination of skinny players, medium-sized players or “the beasts” (which is a slightly more intimidating euphemism for fat players that skated slow but hit with the force of a Mack truck).
Since the 2 Guard-2 Forward-1 Center format has grown out of fashion, might it not make more sense to go with a 1 Little Guard-2 Wing Man-2 Big Forward format? Something that could lump the Kobe Bryant’s and LeBron James(es) of the world together? So that Kevin Durant no longer has to worry about sitting on the bench because Tim Duncan or Pau Gasol had to bump him out of the way when Andrew Bynum took what should have been their spot at C?
With this 1LG-2WM-2BF format, each team would have a point guard (let’s say Chris Paul and Devin Harris), along with two players that would either fall into the shooting guard or small forward categories (let’s say Kobe Bryant/Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade/LeBron James). Then each team would get two big players to fill in at power forward and centre (might as well come up with an example here too Tim Duncan/Dirk Nowtizki and Chris Bosh/Dwight Howard). Doesn’t that make a lot more sense then trying to go with what they have now?
The reason this format works more efficiently is because a shooting guard has a heck of a lot more in common with a small forward than with a point guard and a center is virtually identical to a power forward save for a few inches.
The next part of the ASG process that ruins lives is the fact that idiots get to vote every single day. No longer are votes cast by the most knowledgeable, passionate fans, they’re cast by 13-year-old homers and a fraction of the world’s cell phone carriers that can do it from their phones (T-Mobile subscribers, if you’re wondering. Thanks Mr. Stern).
What I propose is that we abandon this unlimited vote count and let fans cast one single ballot per year. It seems irrational, but believe it or not that used to be how voting worked in real life too. It might eliminate the preposterously high vote counts that NBA execs in the Social Media department felate each other over at the staff Christmas party, but at least the counts will be authentic. It’s like Major League Baseball minus the steroids. Sure the numbers aren’t as absurdly-record breaking, but at least they’re legitimate.
“What if the most super elitest of hackers figured out a way to clear their cookies and vote more than once?”, you say, thus jeopardizing the integrity of our whole operation? Then have fans print off their ballot and mail it in. Old school, I know, but printers are everywhere and I’m pretty sure stamps cost less than 60 cents. With the power of the internet the ballot can still be distributed at stupid lengths, the only difference is that the actual votes won’t fall into that same realm of vast stupidity.
The NBA has found itself on a path of convenience lately, but too much convenience can have unfortunate results, especially when the goal all along is to maintain integrity and control. With this new method, fans no longer have to worry about having zero impact and it avoids the inevitable scandal that will come when one community figures out a way to flood the severely flawed voting process (a similar thing happened with the Montreal Canadiens and the NHL All-Star Game a few years ago).
Oh well, it’s not like anybody watches it anyway. I’m still on strike until they bring 2Ball back.