The starters for the Western & Eastern Conference teams are voted in (which is controversial in and of itself); the reserves are selected, and the coaches are picked based on the winningest team in each conference.
The Warriors, who have the best record in the West, will not have their coaching staff on the sideline. Instead, it’ll be Gregg Popovich and his staff. Many expected this, so it’s not too profound. The league has a rule in place where you’re not allowed to coach the all-star team two years in a row. Congrats, Pop.
The Eastern Conference, on the other hand, got a little dicey in its coaching pick. The Cavaliers are the number one seed in the conference, so their staff is going to be working the sideline. Where a little controversy comes in is around the recent firing of David Blatt, and hiring of Tyronn Lue. Cleveland has won 32 games thus far this season. Blatt has won 30 of them; Lue has won two. Since Leu has only coached three games this year, some feel he isn’t deserving of the head coaching spot.
Suggestions have been thrown around, and it would be a great gesture if Lue were to defer to Dwane Casey & his staff. Casey, head coach of the Raptors, has guided Toronto to a 31-15 record, putting them just two games back of Cleveland for the one seed.
Moreover, people around the league think it would be nice for Toronto’s staff to coach the game because the Air Canada Centre is hosting the weekend.
Personally, I, too, would think that’s a great gesture. As a fan, however, the coach of the game isn’t going to change anything for me. The All-Star Game is player-centric, a reward for the efforts up until this point.
If Casey coaches, great. If they want to have Brett Brown coach it, that’s great also. If Lue coaches it, it shouldn’t be a big deal. While he’s only been the formal HC for three games, he was a big-time assistant beforehand.
It was even reported that Cavalier players came out and said that they went to Lue instead of Blatt at times.
*Photo Credit: Dave Richards / USA TODAY Sports*