Poll: Should NBA Stick With New All-Star Format?

When the NBA first announced last month that it was making changes to the All-Star Game format for 2020, those changes were met with skepticism — and with plenty of jokes about how convoluted the quarterly mini-games and fourth-quarter target score sounded.

However, the general consensus after Sunday night’s game is that the new format worked much better in practice than in theory. Since the team that won each quarter earned $100K for its charity, the end of each quarter essentially turned into “crunch time.” That was especially true in the third quarter when Team Giannis executed a Trae Young/Rudy Gobert lob with 2.2 seconds left to tie the score at 41.

The fourth-quarter target score then inspired both teams to go into lockdown mode on defense in the final moments of the game. As Team Giannis and Team LeBron vied to get to 157 points, the effort level increased and the game got more physical, as players dove for loose balls and drew offensive fouls. Against increased pressure, the two teams shot just 35.5% from the floor in the fourth quarter, compared to 55.5% in the first three.

The reviews for the format were almost unanimously positive. Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today suggested the game was “one of the more entertaining and competitive All-Star Games in the past decade.” ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said the fourth quarter featured the “most intense play this weekend has seen in decades.” Zach Kram of The Ringer wrote that the changes “brought an unexpected playoff atmosphere to an exhibition game typically defined, in part, by a distinct lack of intensity.”

And it wasn’t just media members that were in favor of the changes. Giannis Antetokounmpo said he “loved” the new format and hopes it sticks around (video link via Ben Golliver of The Washington Post). Joel Embiid said in a tweet that it was the “best All-Star Game ever.” Several non-All-Stars around the NBA – including Myles Turner, Lou Williams, Evan Fournier, and others – complimented the changes as well, as ESPN details.

Still, it wasn’t entirely perfect. The game ended when an Anthony Davis free throw pushed Team LeBron’s score from 156 to 157, which was a little anti-climactic. A number of players suggested after the game that they’d rather not see the game end on a foul shot.

If the NBA considers changing that rule, the challenge would be finding a solution that would still disincentivize late-game fouling. Turning every late-game foul into a side-out, non-shooting foul would encouraging the losing team to maul any shooter who might have an open look.

One possible solution, as relayed by Mavericks executive Haralabos Voulgaris (via Twitter), would be for end-of-game free throws to take away points from the losing team rather than add them to the winning team. Even in that scenario though, it would probably be in the losing team’s best interest to foul on a potential game-winning shot.

The target-score ending also may not have been considered such a success if the game hadn’t been so close. Getting to a next-basket-wins scenario was the ideal outcome for the NBA, but the excitement level wouldn’t have been as high if one team had won by 15 or 20 points. Of course, the same could be said of the traditional format.

In the wake of one of the NBA’s most exciting All-Star Games in years, we want to hear your thoughts. Did you like the new format better than the old one? Would you make additional tweaks to the new format?

Vote below in our poll, then head to the comment section to weigh in!

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15 thoughts on “Poll: Should NBA Stick With New All-Star Format?

  1. I liked the end target score so much, I think it should be considered for regular games as well. While hitting a free throw is less exciting than a game ending dunk or jumper, it is way more exciting than dribbling out the clock. Also, this seemed to solve the foul fest that can happen at the end of games.

    • This was an awesome game to watch, especially the fourth quarter. Almost like a pickup game down at the park. 1st to 15 wins but in this case 157. Plus a little reward winning first three quarters in that you were closer or had an edge starting 4th.

      But in no way should this change the format of the regular season and playoff games. This was for entertainment only. Also loved no commercials in the fourth quarter. That was huge.

    • shawn hemp

      They should do something different all together… my vote is for a 3v3 single elimination tournament. Play to 21.

      • Years ago they would have one-on-one tournaments and horse competitions. Pretty wild huh.

  2. NBA 3.0

    They should have a format where you can end on a steal or missed free throw. Essentially increase scores for good plays, decrease scores for bad plays. And to make the game feel close throughout, just change the scoring format to first to 1. A 3-pointer can be worth, say, .006 points for a random example. A blowout would be .8 to 1, but it wouldn’t feel that way since I mean, look how close .8 is to 1!

  3. jump shot

    The game ending on a free throw should be a non-issue. Of course, they copied the concept of the Elam Ending from the TBT money tournament and several of those games ended at the foul line, including the last one won by my Ohio State guys.
    But, just as Anthony Davis won it with a free throw, if he had choked the second one as he did the first, the game may have had an entirely different outcome.
    So, no need to tweak anything there. No need for too much make-up.

  4. Maybe add the old format at the end of season. Like how the nfl does their pro bowl game. Like add it after the conference championship. Give the players in finals get another day or two of rest while everyone watches another “new” all star format. Have like a dodgeball event, another 3 point shot out, dunk etc.

  5. bdpecore

    I liked the format but it was obvious how gases those 10 guys were by the end. I wish the coaches would’ve done more subbing to keep players fresh and the intensity high. It’s not like you are taking out Giannis for Kyle Korver. Maybe add in a clause where all players have to play in the 4th quarter. If anything it gives some of these younger players a taste of what playoff basketball is all about and allows the intensity to remain high for the entire 4th quarter.

  6. Curtisrowe

    I would rather watch Cleveland play Atlanta than watch an all-star game. I have watched one for about 20 years.

    • You missed a good one last night. 4th quarter was fun to watch.

      Another angle I enjoyed this year and last couple years is it’s not the same old East versus West. Guys are intermingled and you even see the odd matchup of Ben Simmons stripping the ball from Joel embiid even though they’re teammates in the regular season.

      We Also get a chance to see Chris Paul play with LeBron and LeBron play with Kawhi and Anthony Davis. I love all that stuff.

      • specialfriedrice

        Watch an All Star from from pre 2005…bring back East and West, this idea of a school yard pick is beyond stupid.

        If people are fine with having a distorted version of the game we love, then why not just let your All Star Game be one quarter…if you honestly able to say, ‘yea but the last qtr or 5 mins was great’…then what are you saying about the previous 3 qtrs or 43 mis of the game…

        Silver is the most useless Commissioner, he was handed a cash cow product during a time of massive growth in international revenue, he is constantly suggesting ‘stupid’ changes to the season, all star game and the playoffs.

  7. I’d rather see them address how the teams are selected than the format. I mean, if I’m on basketball-reference and I’m looking at East vs. West in some older year, I know what that means. 25 years from now, who’s going to know what Team Lebron vs. Team Giannis means?

    We needed to do away with the East-West thing because of conference imbalance, is what I’m told. Well, no one can tell me that the rosters were balanced last night. Oh, but it was a close game, so they must have had balance…except check out the 2001 ASG. Three of the top five players in the world played for the West. It would have been four, but Shaq was injured…and the East won anyway. Let’s just bring back the conference matchups.

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