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NBA All-Star 2023 Draft format explained: How are the teams selected?

With the NBA All-Star Game almost upon us, it’s a good time to explore how the Draft system works. Though it hasn’t been around long, it’s shaken things up.

With the NBA All-Star Game almost upon us, it’s a good time to explore how the Draft system works. Though it hasn’t been around long, it’s shaken things up.

We’ve come a long way since the early days of the NBA All-Star Game, such that today we’ve got what is undoubtedly an exciting and evenly matched contest between the best of the West and the greatest of the East. Yet, how did the NBA achieve that? Let’s find out, as we take a look at the Draft system used by the league for the All-Star Game.

Why was the NBA All-Star Draft created?

When it started back in 1951, the NBA All-Star Game was meant to be both a mid-season break and of course a showcase of the best talen from both the Eastern and Western Conferences. Needless to say the game has featured some of the very best in the history of the league including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant and of course more recently, stars such as Tim Duncan and the iconic LeBron James. Yet, over the years, many bore witness to the game itself becoming a rather one sided affair. With that something had to be done.

Starting in 2017, the NBA took the decision to explore alternate options that would hopefully inject new life into what had become a stagnant affair. League commissioner Adam Silver began to work with then NBAPA president, Chris Paul, in an effort to revitalize the format. The end result was what we now know as the NBA All-Star Draft, which continues to this day.

How does the All-Star Draft Work?

Starting with the captains of each team - determined by the All-Star voting results - both are allowed to select their respective squads, while enjoying the honor of having the team named after them e.g. this year we’ve got Team LeBron vs Team Giannis. Once captains are established, they get alternate turns as they pick from the pool of 22 players which have been voted into the field of All-Star picks. To be clear, they first pick from the 8 All-Star starters and then move onto the 14 All-Star reserves. Interestingly, Conference affiliation has no bearing on the Draft process.

What about the voting process for the All-Star Draft

Though we mentioned above, that Conference affiliation has no effect on the Draft process, it does indeed affect the voting procss, with 12 players from both the East and West earning spots in the All-Star Game. Where the 10 starters are concerned, there are typically two guards and three frontcourt players per Conference, all of whom are chosen by a combination of fans (50% of the vote), current players (25% of the vote) and the media, who as of 2017 have been granted the remaining percentage of the vote. Prior to that year, only fans could select the starting lineup.

Where the 30 NBA coaches are concerned, they are responsible for selecting the 14 reserves, voting for two guards, three frontcourt players and two players at any position in their respective conferences. Lastly, we’ve got commissioner Silver, who has the duty of selecting the replacement for any player who is unable to participate in the All-Star Game. It’s worth mentioning, that the player in question is picked from the same conference as the one he is replacing. Incidentally, The commissioner also has the power to implement a special roster addition, which he did for the first time in 2019.

How are coaches selected?

Unlike the players, coaches for the two teams are selected based on standings two weeks prior to the All-Star Game. The coaching staff for the East and West leaders is matched with the captain from the respective conference. Should there be a situation wherein the leading coach was in charge for the previous All-Star Game, then the second place staff is given the right to lead the team.

The televised Draft & Remaining key dates

Prior to 2018, the Draft was not televised, however, since the inaugural broadcast in 2019, it has continued to be televised on TNT. This year’s All-Star weekend is not far off now, so here’s a look at the key dates that remain:

Friday, Feb. 17

  • NBA All-Star Celebrity Game - 7:00 p.m. ET (ESPN and the ESPN App)
  • NBA Rising Stars Challenge - 9:00 p.m. ET (TNT)

Saturday, Feb. 18

  • NBA HBCU Classic: Grambling State vs. Southern - 4:00 p.m. ET (ESPN2 and the ESPN App)
  • NBA All-Star Saturday (skills challenge, 3-point contest, dunk contest) - 8:00 p.m. ET (TNT)

Sunday, Feb. 19

  • 72nd NBA All-Star Game, 8 p.m. ET (TNT)

Of course if you’d like to know how to watch and where you can stream, we’ve got the low down. As for now, we hope we’ve cleared up any doubts about how the NBA All-Star Draft works and with that, enjoy the All-Star weekend to the max!


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