The NBA’s second annual All-Star draft will be televised.
The league and its players’ association agreed to broadcast the selections on TNT, likely in late January, according to The New York Times. The NBA scrapped the East vs. West format last season in favor of two captains — the highest vote-getters from each conference — picking players in a playground-style draft. LeBron James and Stephen Curry were captains for the 2018 All-Star Game.
This year’s game will be played in Charlotte on Feb. 17.
The announcement of the new system was met with excitement last season, but some of that was mitigated by the disappointment that the league would keep the selections secretive. The NBA Players Association, reportedly at the behest of several high-profile players, argued that the draft order could embarrass those who were picked late in the draft process and therefore should not be broadcast.
“The absence of a consensus by prospective players likely to be affected led to support for a reveal,” the NBPA said in a statement as criticism of the secret draft mounted in January. “Whether a decision to broadcast the draft will be made after this year’s game, that will be determined going forward.”
After the inaugural draft, which took place on a private conference call, both James and Curry said they would like the event televised in 2019. The players’ union has apparently united behind them.
— Stephen Curry (@StephenCurry30) January 25, 2018
Almost the entire draft order eventually leaked to the media. Only Russell Westbrook got upset when he mistakenly thought he was drafted last, only to find out rosters were listed in alphabetical order. Chris Haynes ultimately reported that LaMarcus Aldridge and Al Horford were the final two picks.
“We’re all All-Stars, so, at the end of the day, we should be thankful to be here,” Aldridge told Haynes during 2018 All-Star Weekend. “Picked first, picked last, it doesn’t matter. We’re all competitive, too. It won’t be the easiest thing to be picked last, but at the end of the day, you’re just happy to be here.”
Much of the drama surrounding last year’s draft — whether or not LeBron would pick ex-teammate Kyrie Irving or Curry would select Golden State Warriors nemesis Russell Westbrook — was sorted out when everyone got along just fine throughout the process. Still, this year’s draft should be fun.
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