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The case for letting Tacko Fall and Alex Caruso play in the NBA All-Star Game

The NBA All-Star Game needs Tacko Fall and Alex Caruso. Here’s how to make it happen

Tacko Fall celebrates with the Celtics.
Tacko Fall deserves an All-Star spot. Yes, that’s right.

The first round of results from the NBA All-Star Game’s fan vote are wacky and non-sensical.

Tacko Fall, the Celtics’ 7’6 big who has played 11 minutes all season, is in sixth-place of all eligible Eastern Conference frontcourt players with 110,269 votes. Alex Caruso, an overly-memed Lakers reserve guard who is averaging five points per game, is in ninth-place of all Western Conference guards with 92,233 votes.

Cult heroes are getting their shine, and that should signal something to the league. As it currently stands, fan votes only account for 50 percent of the vote that determines who the game’s 10 starters are. Even if guys like Caruso and Fall earn more than a million more fan votes, they won’t get to play in the game. But screw it. They should.

The NBA All-Star Game stinks. Every year we try to change it, but nothing ever really satisfies what we want or what the players want. We see LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo dunk all year long in real games, so watching them in transition offense against nothing even closely resembling defense grows stale quickly. The game is missing on something big. It platforms those who already have platforms.

So let’s let Caruso and Fall in for once.

Here’s what the NBA should do

Let’s turn the NBA All-Star Game into a tournament. The league’s trying to make a tournament out of the regular season anyway, so this proposal is modest really.

The tournament should be three games total between four teams: Eastern All-Stars, Western All-Stars, a fan-voted Meme Team and a fan-voted retired players team.

Here are the rules:

  • Each team goes 10 players deep
  • There is no limit to positions. Start five centers if you want
  • The first two games of the tournament are 24 minutes each, tipping off on the same day, one after another before the final game
  • The first two games can’t be Eastern All-Stars vs. Western All-Stars. Those teams can only meet in the Finals
  • The captains of the first two winners pick two players from the team they beat to play with them in the final game

Why do this?

The NBA All-Star Game needs lasting change and new reason to watch. Frankly, we’re bored of watching the same guys play in a hardly-competitive game that provides few highlights worth talking about five minutes after they happen.

Think about the conversation around Fergie’s national anthem. It overshadowed anything that happened in any All-Star Game this decade save for maybe DeMarcus Cousins in-game trade. We’re starved for memes. This change-up could provide some.

On top of that, the new format could be really profitable for those involved. Any highlight play from either underdog team could be game-changing for that individual’s popularity. Imagine Caruso dunking on Antetokounmpo? That’s a win-win-win for Caruso, the league and the Lakers.

Make the All-Star Game fun!

What could these teams look like?

Here are some ideas (in alphabetical order):

Eastern Conference All-Stars
Bam Adebayo
Giannis Antetokounmpo
Bradley Beal
Jimmy Butler
Joel Embiid
Kyle Lowry
Pascal Siakam
Ben Simmons
Kemba Walker
Trae Young

Western Conference All-Stars
Anthony Davis
Luka Doncic
Paul George
James Harden
LeBron James
Nikola Jokic
Kawhi Leonard
Damian Lillard
Karl-Anthony Towns
Russell Westbrook

Retired Legends
Ray Allen
Kobe Bryant
Tim Duncan
Kevin Garnett
Manu Ginobili
Steve Nash
Dirk Nowitzki
Shaquille O’Neal
Paul Pierce
Dwyane Wade

Meme Team
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
Alex Caruso
Tacko Fall
Tyler Herro
Joe Ingles
Boban Marjanovic
T.J. McConnell
JaVale McGee
J.R. Smith
Nick Young

Let’s get this done, NBA. Unleash Caruso on the main stage.