It is generally positive to try to create some PR around a Championship by creating awards and other forms of recognition for deserving persons. The most common concept has been the nomination of an All Star Team, together with a Most Valuable Player (MVP). But the concept has become increasingly boring, with a combination of predictability, strange choices and politics.
There tend to be persons available who have the necessary expertise to select the nominees, but the criteria are always unclear. For instance, how much attention should be paid to goal scoring? How important is it to get a perfect fit for each of the 6 court player positions, even if this means that a deserving player is left out? Should one go more for longevity, i.e., players who are already established stars, or should one try to find some emerging stars? And how much does one need to think about spreading the nominations over the top four or five teams, with an extra slot for the gold medal winners and/or a special recognition for the host team?
Moreover, the selection process can make the whole situation anticlimactic. If, as now was the case in Sweden, the team is announced immediately before the two medal games, it is clear that nothing that happens in the finals could change the outcome. This is really a bit strange but perhaps necessary for practical reasons. And this may be why the MVP is sometimes, like now in Sweden, left off the All Star Team. Is seems that this is by definition impossible, but at least it opens up one more place. And when now Karabatic showed in the final how important he is to the French team, it seemed that he was a most appropriate choice for MVP. But perhaps that selection could wait until after the finals?
This time there were reactions of surprise and disagreement, when some of the members of the All Star Teams were announced. Surely Norway had better candidates than someone who was simply their reliable 7-meter shooter! And did really many think that Doder was the best choice from the Swedish team? And if now Balic and Vori did not deserve to be included, was it necessary to have a Croatian, if Zrnic somehow was the best choice. And conversely, how could the Danish wing players be left out, and was there really nobody deserving on the Spanish team? Perhaps one should have demonstratively refrained from choosing a pivot, considering that this must be the weakest year for pivots in a very long time!?
It came to my mind during the late stages in Sweden that one could perhaps create more excitement by introducing a different type of All Star Team, either in addition to the normal one or instead of the traditional approach. For me, one of the most exciting aspects of the whole Championship was to observe the many new, younger players who had a dominating or surprising role on their respective teams. This time there were plenty of them, as many of the top teams are undergoing a bit of a generation change. I also heard many experts and ordinary spectators talk with excitement about these players.
So perhaps what we should have is some kind of ‘Newcomers’ or ‘Discovery’ All Star Team. Not one with a lot of rigid rules regarding age or previous experience, but one based on the excitement and surprises caused by these emerging top players. Perhaps one should call them ‘Future All Stars’. And one might not need to have exactly 7 players, one for each basic position. Perhaps one could select more freely up to 10 such players regardless of position. I really do think this would create more genuine excitement and debate! And people always seem to find it interesting to speculate about the future, rather than discussing if the All Stars from last time deserve to be nominated yet again…