Warriors' Steph Curry happy with All-Star Game format; coach Steve Kerr wishes changes went further

SHENZHEN, China -- Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry believes the changes the NBA announced surrounding the All-Star Game are "great for the game."

The NBA and National Basketball Players Association announced Tuesday that the exhibition game held in the middle of the season will no longer be an East vs. West format. Under the new rules, the leading vote-getters from each conference will be the captains of the two teams, and each will choose his team from the pool of All-Stars, regardless of conference affiliation. The pool is still made up of 12 players from each conference.

"I think it's great for the game to kind of spice it up a little bit," Curry told ESPN before Wednesday's practice. "Give the fans a little bit more interest in how the teams are going to unfold. It's great to follow how the 24-man rosters are voted on by the fans and the coaches but now there's another element of mixing the East and the West and giving different combinations of guys out there on the floor. So it should be a pretty cool vibe to test it out and see how it goes."

"I like the format, I think it mixes things up," Cleveland Cavaliers centerKevin Lovesaid Wednesday."I think in some way it will make it more competitive and also it will be interesting to see who picks who."

Curry, who was the leading vote-getter in 2015, said if he is made captain, his first selection would likely be another Warrior.

"Probably one of my teammates," he said. "It would be messed up if it wasn't. That's kind of the cool thing about it, following whoever the two guys who are picking, how their rosters kind of take shape. It will probably be some tough decisions in there which I think would be good for the game."

Warriors coach Steve Kerr, who led the Western Conference All-Stars in 2017, acknowledged that it might be difficult for a captain not to pick his own teammate, and he wished the changes went a little deeper.

"I think it really would have been interesting if they would have picked 24 All-Stars total," Kerr said. "And not necessarily made it 12 from each side. If they really wanted to do it and get the 24 best players, maybe that would have been the way to go, but I respect the fact that the league is looking to alter the format, trying to make it better. I think it's good."

"It's whatever," Cavaliers forward Richard Jefferson said of the changes. "You change things up, it doesn't do anything, it doesn't change anything. Picking once or twice or East vs. West, it's not as competitive as it once was, so you're doing something to change it because it's really kind of a joke."

"They're changing it up ideally to make it more competitive. Hopefully it works," Jefferson continued. "It's weird because guys don't want to get injured, guys do this, you don't want to play too many minutes, but at the same point in time you have to be ... [Cleveland Indians manager] Terry Francona said something that kind of resonated with me. He said, 'Our job is to win. In the meantime while winning if people find it entertaining, then that's awesome. But just to go into something with the idea that we're going to entertain the fans is kind of shortchanging people.'"

The league was looking for some way to change the game after it had devolved into a no-defense dunk-fest over the past few seasons.

"I think it's great, it adds some more excitement," Warriors All-Star Draymond Green said. "I think the All-Star Game last year was pretty boring. So I think for the league office, Adam Silver, Michael Levine, and all those guys to take a look at that and say it's something else we need to do to bring some excitement to it, I think that's great. I think that definitely adds some excitement. Talking [about] the draft, all these different things, that's pretty unique, so I'm not sure how it turns out but I think it's a fantastic idea."

The allure for both fans and players alike is the chance to see different combinations of players that wouldn't normally be together. To that point, Curry knows it would be intriguing for a lot of people to see he and Cavaliers star LeBron James play together. Would Curry choose James for his team if given the opportunity?

"I would assume he'd be a captain, too," Curry said. "But it gives you the opportunity to play with guys you've never played with before. Obviously I've never been on a team with LeBron. He's never been on a team with me. I could say that about a bunch of different guys in the league so that's kind of what the new format can lead to."

The two-time MVP chafed at the notion that the game had become uninteresting, but he is confident that the changes will create more excitement than in years past.

"It's a hard balance, right?" Curry said. "Because obviously you play so many games and it's hard to kind of get the intensity up of where it's like a regular-season game. I don't know if that will ever happen but there is ways to try to spice it up and create that interest. I think the NBA and the players have tried to come together and figure out certain ideas that could work. We'll see how it affects the game on the court but maybe adding that element of combining the East and the West will handle that."

ESPN's Dave McMenamin contributed to this report.

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