The NBA announced the 10 “starters” for the NBA All-Star pick-up game that is set to be performed at the Staples Center midway through the N.E.R.D. concert, and just following the Fergie/Bare Naked Ladies National Anthems next month. Yes, you read that correctly, Bare…Naked…Ladies are still around apparently.
The voting is a trifecta of confusion and stupidity based on 3 voting groups consisting of fans, players and media members. The media members cast votes for 7 frontcourt players and 5 backcourt players which are then ranked accordingly. While this seeems like a decent system worthy of even the GOP’s approval, the fans are allowed to vote as many times as they want online and there was even recently a “double voting” night on the NBA website which made every vote count as two. What?!?!?!
Lastly, the players themselves cast votes, which leads to 125 guys who got at least one vote from a fellow player. That’s an average of a little more than 8 per team — not just to be an All-Star, but a starter. Here’s a list of every player that received 1 vote:
- East Frontcourt: Cedi Osman, Domantas Sabonis, John Henson, Jabari Parker, Jarrett Allen, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Doug McDermott, Frank Kaminsky, Bismack Biyombo, Trevor Booker, Dwayne Bacon, Ike Anigbogu, Denzel Valentine, James Michael McAdoo, TJ Leaf, Semi Ojeleye, Taurean Prince, Amir Johnson, Lance Thomas, Marvin Williams, Anthony Tolliver, Tyler Cavanaugh, Johnny O’Bryant III, Eric Moreland
- East Guards: Derrick Rose, JR Smith, Frank Ntilikina, Zach LaVine, Dennis Schroeder, Courtney Lee, Terry Rozier, Wayne Ellington, Tyler Johnson, Mario Hezonja, Luke Kennard, Langston Galloway, Cameron Payne, Sean Kilpatrick, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Derrick Jones Jr., Derrick Walton Jr.
- West Frontcourt: David West, Julius Randle, Rudy Gobert, Kosta Koufos, Nemanja Bjelica, Paul Millsap, Willie Cauley-Stein, Josh Jackson, Omer Asik, Dragan Bender, Matt Costello, Damian Jones, Ivica Zubac, Trey Lyles, Gorgui Dieng, Darius Miller, Dwight Powell, Justin Jackson, Nerlens Noel, James Ennis III, Dakari Johnson, Willie Reed, Brice Johnson, JaKarr Sampson, Jack Cooley, Tyler Lydon, Brandan Wright
- West Guards: Jordan Clarkson, Danny Green, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Seth Curry, De’Aaron Fox, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Gerald Green, Tyus Jones, Will Barton, Brandon Paul, Wes Matthews, George Hill, Briante Weber, Pat Connaughton, Daniel Hamilton, Emmanuel Mudiay, Aaron Brooks, Sindarius Thornwell, Wayne Selden
For now let’s focus on how dumb fan-voting is. Here’s all you need to know, Lonzo Ball received 607,961 fan votes, which beat out Chris Paul, Damian Lillard, Jimmy Butler, Devin Booker, Tony Parker, Lou Williams, CJ McCollum, LaMarcus Aldridge, Karl-Anthony Towns, Kyle Kuzma, Blake Griffin, Brandon Ingram….I mean the list is long and distinguished, unlike Lonzo’s stat-lines this season.
Here’s another cherry on top of the madness, Gordon Hayward received more than 79,000 votes from fans (16th among East frontcourt players). Hayward has played less than six minutes this season because of a vomit-inducing injury on opening night.
Sure it feels weird to whine about voting for what is billed as a “fun” celebratory basketball weekend for the NBA, but players’ career stats and salaries are partially affected by all-star voting. The number of all-star appearances are valuable, feather-in-your-hat, negotiating tools in contract discussions as well as HOF induction parameters at the end of a player’s career. So while it may seem like a meaningless award to be named to an all-star team for casual NBA fans, it’s much more meaningful to players.
Damian Lillard is a two-time all-star, that averages 23 ppg during his six year career in the NBA. He’s consistently considered widely as a top-five guard in the western conference and by some hoop-heads, a top-five guard in the entire league. He’s the 4th highest voted guard in the west by the players this season, but 8th overall in the west by fans and received ZERO votes by media members. How is this possible? Simply put: Lillard plays in Portland in a tough western conference, and the pacific northwest is a forgotten wasteland to media members and fans alike unless the city is named Seattle or whatever Narnia those vampire emo-kids are from.
Furthering my point, Lonzo Ball of the Los Angeles Lakers has 250,000 more fan votes than Lillard (insert stat-lines that will infuriate):
Damian Lillard 2017-18: 25 ppg 4.8 rpg 6.5 apg
42.8 FG% 34.9 FG3% 91.9 FT%
Lonzo Ball 2017-18: 10.2 ppg 7.1 rpg 7.1 apg
35.6 FG% 30.3 FG3% 48 FT%
In addition to fans being degenerate, drunken, mental dwarfs….the players’ vote isn’t much more efficient when you consider: Tyler Zeller, who is 10th on the Nets in minutes per game at 17.6, received four votes from the players. So did Jahlil Okafor, who barely played for the 76ers before getting traded to the Nets. He’s played 138 minutes TOTAL this season. Knicks bench-mooks Michael Beasley and Kyle O’Quinn also received four votes. Enes Kanter finished tied for ninth among frontcourt players in the East with 17 votes, ahead of players like Khris Middleton, Dwight Howard and Hassan Whiteside. The Knicks’ 2nd best player all season, Tim Hardaway Jr., only received two votes, the same was Wily Hernangomez but one more than Doug McDermott and Lance Thomas.
So what’s the answer?
First of all, expand team sizes to 14 per side with 2 alternates. Who cares about playing time, this isn’t the YMCA rec league.
Secondly, voting for those 16 total players in both conferences should come from a) NBA Coach’s vote, b) Media Members vote, and c) NBA Players’ vote.
Lastly, let the stupid fans have their fun by selecting the starters from those rosters selected by the coaches, media members and players. Fans votes should have ZERO affect on a player’s career stats or future contract-bargaining chips when it comes to all-star appearances.
Why is this whole thing so dumb? I used to love the NBA All-Star Weekend, what happened?!?!