This year the Toronto Raptors didn't have a single player represented at All-Star weekend. There was not one player for the entire team represented anywhere in the game. It kind of makes you wonder why it was necessary to do the Canadian National Anthem, doesn't it?
I think the NBA should consider adopting the rule that Major League Baseball has, and ensure that every team has a representative.
Obviously, the game itself can't feature a player from every team. You can't fit 15 players on a 12-man roster. Even if you expand the roster to 15, it would be weird. You can't very well set aside Dwyane Wade as an All-Star to make room for DeMar DeRozan can you?
However, the weekend is bigger than a single game. I don't think it's a great travesty to have Jose Calderon competing for the skills challenge. If you put Andre Bargainni in the three-point contest, he would be competitive with the players who were in it.
If you don't care about star power, why not give DeMar DeRozan another shot at the dunk contest? With this year's field he would have not only had a real chance at winning, he might have been the favorite.
The fact is this is the NBA and the "A" stands for "Association." If we want small-market teams to survive, we need to give them a chance to compete in the various contests. Maybe some people don't know that Jose Calderon is actually a terrific point guard. There's not a compelling reason that he couldn't have been in the contest instead of Tony Parker.
The NBA needs to do more to give the small-market teams some exposure. If they want their star players to stay there, grant them exposure where they are at. Then free agents aren't going to think that they will be going to dwell in obscurity if they go play for a team like that.
This is the one chance for the "Torontos" of the NBA to get some national exposure and they got literally none at all. With the contests, there are a combined 67 various spots that can be filled, which is more than enough to ensure that every team can have one participant.
Would anyone have really been appalled if the Miami Heat had only one participant in the three-point challenge? It's amazing that the NBA seems to push the marquis teams to a point of excluding the others while they are trying to prove the marketability small-market teams and players.
David Stern needs to either put up or shut up, as they say. The best way to do that is to simply mandate that every team has a representative for All-Star weekend.