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Dwight Howard of the East defends the West's Andrew Bynum in the 2012 All-Star Game.
The NBA All-Star Game is similar to the Pro Bowl. The entire contest is a flashy act of athleticism on offense, but if the game is close in the final minutes, the players actually compete to win.
However, the NBA can do something to prevent people from changing the channel in a dull performance.
Shorten the game and increase the number of games.
Starting from scratch, the East and West will have their usual 12-man rosters, but each conference will divide into two separate six-man teams. Let's call them Team A and Team B.
The fans can vote for five guards and seven forwards in the East and West, but it's up to the coach of each conference to decide who plays on Team A and Team B.
When it's game time, the East will play the West like usual but with a few new wrinkles.
In a best-of-three series involving 10-minute games, Team A from the East will play Team A from the West in Game 1, followed by Team B from the East playing Team B from the West in Game 2. If one conference wins the first two games, the All-Star Game is over.
If Game 3 is needed, players on both teams can be used. This way certain players who just participated in Game 2 can rest before coming back in for the final showdown.
This format is effective for multiple reasons.
First, the chances of the game being close in the end increase dramatically, which is ultimately what the fans want.
Second, the competitiveness stays at a high level for each game, especially if it goes to Game 3.
Third, strategy is crucial for the head coach.
Take the rosters in 2013, for example.
In the East, how would a coach combine all the players from the Heat, Bulls, Knicks and Celtics (if Rajon Rondo were healthy)? Would he split everyone up?
In the West, would a coach assemble a Lob City team by taking Chris Paul and Blake Griffin from the Clippers and adding Dwight Howard as another threat above the rim? Then would he include more traditional and fundamental power forwards like Tim Duncan and Zach Randolph?
How does a coach use the sixth man in the rotation on both squads? Should one team be designed to play up-tempo and the other play at a slower pace? There are a lot of different tactics a coach can use.
The NBA All-Star Game would now be called the NBA All-Star Series.