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NBA All-Star Game returning to East vs. West format in Indianapolis

The changes, while something fans have wanted in recent years, likely won’t do anything to make the game more interesting

The NBA All-Star Game will pit the two conferences against each other in a traditional game once again this season.
The NBA All-Star Game will pit the two conferences against each other in a traditional game once again this season. (Patrick T. Fallon/AFP/Getty Images) (PATRICK T. FALLON via Getty Images)

The NBA All-Star Game is getting back to normal.

Commissioner Adam Silver announced Wednesday the All-Star Game will return to a traditional format this season in Indianapolis.

The game will feature the Eastern Conference against the Western Conference, ending the All-Star Draft that’s been in place for the past six seasons. The game will also be scored normally instead of playing an untimed fourth quarter that ends after a team hits the "final target score," known as an Elam Ending.

Teams will still feature 12 players from each conference, and team captains will be determined through fan voting among the five starters on each team.

Silver hinted at the changes last week on ESPN's "First Take," and said the move was being considered in part to add more significance to the game once again.

“A lot of it comes down to reinforcing with our players and our teams how important this is for the fans,” Silver said on ESPN. “ ... We don’t expect playoff intensity, but we expect a competitive game for our fans.”

While that’s a good idea in practice, the league had the same intentions when it moved to the draft format in 2018. The All-Star Game rarely features a competitive matchup, as players instead barely play defense or try too hard in the game that, in reality, doesn’t mean anything. The draft aspect — which had LeBron James picking his team against either Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant or Giannis Antetokounmpo — was fun and different, but it didn’t help much either.

As that was an issue both before and after the switch, it’s unlikely that this latest change will do anything to combat the competitive issue during what is sure to be a party-filled weekend at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis in February. There are still no stakes involved.

But hey, the All-Star Game is back.