NBA commissioner Adam Silver said he was pleased with the new format for the league's All-Star Game and believed that next year's player draft would be televised.
"I thought it was incredible. I can't tell you how appreciative I am of the players," Silver told ESPN's Ramona Shelburne following a 148-145 win for Team LeBron over Team Stephen at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
After a competitive All-Star Game that ended with the winning team putting forth a defensive stand to secure the victory, perhaps the only knock on the new format was that the player draft wasn't televised.
"When we sat with the union and we came up with this format, we all agreed, let's not turn something that's 100 percent positive into a potential negative to any player," Silver said. "But then ... maybe we're overly conservative, because then we came out of there, and the players were, 'We can take it. We're All-Stars. Let's have a draft.' So it sounds like we're going to have a televised draft next year."
The new format allowed fans to vote for the starting five players for each conference, as has traditionally been the case. But now the leading vote-getter in each conference is named a team captain. This year, that meant LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors were asked to pick their rosters from the pool of starters chosen by fans and reserves selected by the league's 30 head coaches.
Silver said the idea for the player-draft format came from the notion of "How can we make this more exciting?" He explained that the league sat down with NBA Players Association president Chris Paul, NBPA executive director Michele Roberts and their executive group and "jointly came up with this idea of captains and picking teams, and [the players] went all-out just as they said they would."
Silver said he doesn't know any of the particulars of what the televised draft would include, but he believes he and the union will "figure it out," as the product speaks for itself.
"I'm so thankful, and I think I know walking around the arena here the fans appreciated it just as much as I did," he said.
For his part, Curry said he would love to be an NBA All-Star Game captain again next year, especially because the game will be in his hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina. James said he would be OK with someone else taking his place, depending on who the top two vote-getters are.
"Televise it," DeMar DeRozan of Team Stephen said of the draft. "Give the people what they want to see. I think everybody wants to see it. At the end of the day, every single person that gets picked, you are an All-Star, so it doesn't matter where you really go, so I think televise it."
Players also raved about the new format of having captains draft the teams rather than the traditional format of East vs. West.
"I know who I like watching, and I had a draft board. I had a process," James said. "Some of it went according to plan. A couple of them fell through, but I was satisfied and happy with the guys that I got."
"Even with the four guys that got injured, we were able to get four new guys that came in and played well for us," James said.
James was named the game's MVP after making the go-ahead, finger-roll layup with 34.5 seconds left and scoring a game-high 29 points.
Where did he hide his draft board?
"Ain't none of your business. You're going too far, man," James said with a laugh.
Curry didn't divulge his draft order.
"As the draft kind of unfolded, you start to game plan around positions," he said. "For me, I tried to get the best shooters. It was kind of cool to see both teams come together as me and LeBron were picking. So that part, that vibe of the format and having two guys select from your peers, will be a fun show as it unfolds year after year."
The All-Star draft led to interesting dynamics on the court.
Curry chose his Golden State teammates Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, but the trio had to play against Durant. James also chose Oklahoma City duo Westbrook and Paul George to play along with Irving, who forced a trade away from James in Cleveland just last summer.
Irving and James had no obvious friction, even laughing and joking on the bench. Neither did Durant and Westbrook, who broke up as teammates in 2016 when Durant left Oklahoma City for Golden State.
Durant helped James smother Curry in the final seconds to prevent him from getting off a potential tying shot.
And then there was Toronto's Dwane Casey coaching Team LeBron against Raptors star DeRozan.
"I think that having the captains and selecting the guys and being able to mix them up gave it a more authentic feel of kind of what us players want to be part of in an All-Star Game," Irving said.
"It's great to play with guys in your conference, East-West. But when you get a chance to have Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and you know they're teammates already, and then you mix them with myself and Kemba [Walker], and LeBron, and you could see the mix and it just worked."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.