Part of the discussion around the NBA’s new All Star format, where the teams are selected via a draft by the top two players in fan voting, is whether the draft should be televised, or otherwise broadcast, or in any way made public. You see, that was not done this time around, and so fans (and players) have mostly had to guess which studs were picked first and which total chump losers were picked last.
Here, by way of perspective on this matter, is All Star LaMarcus Aldridge:
“It’s an extra layer of protection,” Aldridge said to ESPN. “You don’t want guys holding grudges [with captains] and it could add some animosity or some aspects to the game that you don’t really need. But if guys want to know, they want to know. I don’t’ really care. I’m here. I’m on the team.”
This is a healthy attitude for Aldridge in particular, because we have now learned that he is one of the two dorks who were picked last because no one wants them on their team. The other total nerd with no skills to pay the bills, it turns out, is Al Horford. Aldridge and Horford, two excellent and versatile NBA big men, are nonetheless fairly boring, as player types. I do not want to watch them in the NBA All Star Game, which is a showcase of slick passes and outrageous bombs and highlight dunks, and not post footwork or the finer points of setting illegal screens. The captains agree: Aldridge was picked last by LeBron James, and Horford was picked last by Steph Curry. There can be no more devastating shame in life.
“We’re all All-Stars, so, at the end of the day, we should be thankful to be here,” Aldridge told ESPN. “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.”
Yes, that is a very reasonable way of looking at it. On the other hand, Steph Curry suggested that handling the draft delicately was a way of protecting the dignity of players. And, after all, why would the NBA make this a thing, and why would NBA fans be interested in it, if not for the juicy fun of parsing the literal and potential meaning of things like who is picked first, and by who, and who is picked last. The draft format is meant to add meaning and context to the contest; therefore we are very much expected and encouraged to clown the suckers who are picked last. It’s part of the event, now! Hey, LaMarcus: You suck, buddy!