Bulpett: NBA All-Star Game’s new pick-’em format could be a riot

When the new format was announced for the NBA All-Star Game — leading vote-getters from each conference as captains, then picking sides from the entire pool — my best friend said, “Oh, this could be really bad if they make it public. It’d be like down at the park. No one wants to be the last guy picked.”

Word probably will get out somehow, but the league has said there are no plans to televise or publicize the order of picks. There was the concern that picks would be made based on friendships rather than merit and that feelings would be hurt.

But just think of the reality-show drama and gossip that would be created if it was all out in the open. Motives, real or not, would be ascribed, which would no doubt add spice to ensuing regular-season meetings.

And what if a captain didn’t pick a teammate? Ooooh, the intrigue.

The question we’re left with is simply this: If the NBA was worried about bruised feelings and appearances of pettiness (will LeBron James pick Kyrie Irving? Or vice versa), why choose this format in the first place?

This week’s

C’s timeline

Tuesday, vs. New Orleans, 7:30 p.m. — This will be a rough one for the Celtics as they must deal with rust. . . . Just kidding, of course, but it will be interesting to see how the C’s come out after playing just one game in the last night days because of their London trip after squeezing in 43 in the first part of the season. The Pelicans are a dangerous bunch with Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins. New Orleans also has four former Celts on its roster — Rajon Rondo, Tony Allen, E’Twaun Moore and Jameer Nelson.

Thursday, vs. Philadelphia, 7 p.m. — Note the earlier than usual tipoff time. It’ll be interesting to see how the 76ers respond after what happened in London Thursday. Philly was up by 22 before falling behind by as many as 19 and losing to the C’s, 114-103. Certainly Brad Stevens would like to avoid a repeat of that start.



I was stunned by the reaction of some coaches — but no so much to the response of others, or at least one — to the ESPN story in which LaVar Ball said the Lakers no longer want to play for Luke Walton.

Leaving aside for the moment the fact that Walton and the club are perfectly capable of handling this on their own (and Luke’s humor was the perfect parry), there is a simple First Amendment issue that seems to be escaping everyone. What does get a bit messy is the convergence of the…

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