Since the All-Star Game is widely seen as little more than a popularity contest (to wit: no defense is played during the All-Star game, and Zaza Pachulia has more votes than, say Chris Paul or Kawhi Leonard), there are some somewhat controversial (?) tweaks to this year’s voting contest.
Fan voting now only accounts for 50% of a player’s votes, with 25% now coming from the players themselves, and the other 25% coming from the sports media. Each person can vote for two backcourt players (point guards and/or shooting guards) and three frontcourt players (small forwards, power forwards, and/or centers), and choose from any of the approximately 450 active players currently playing this season, in any combination of positions.
I’m not concerned about how the players or media vote. Players will more than likely vote for their worthy teammates (unless you are part of the Four Horsemen of the Banana Boat, in which case voting for other members of the quad who are not on your NBA team, is acceptable).
The media–those who are not squeamish about being thrust into the voting process–will just do as their conscience demands and vote for whomever, just like they would if they were doing weekly NBA power rankings.
As for me and my house?
I have my staples for the Western Conference; as strong as the conference is, only a few stand out for me, and of those few I choose my favorites. And, silly me, I choose based on player performance thus far, and relative to their individual team’s successes–not because a player is popular, or has been an All-Star in the past.
The Eastern Conference, though…that’s what has me twisted. Simply because there are so many legitimate All-Star options.
Guards? In no particular order, there’s Kemba Walker (Charlotte Hornets); Isaiah Thomas (Boston Celtics); DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors); Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers).
Frontcourt? There’s Lebron James (Cleveland Cavaliers); Jimmy Butler (Chicago Bulls); Kristap Porzingis (New York Knicks); Jae Crowder (Boston Celtics); Giannis Antetokoumpo (Milwaukee Bucks).
[sidebar: these are MY choices, based on MY logic. Don’t @ me with nonsense. Thanks for your cooperation.]
Did I snub John Wall (Washington Wizards) and Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers)? Yep.
Remember, I said that I vote based on player performance relative to that individual’s team successes. The Wizards have managed to string together some wins despite Wall going off, yet still are fighting for the eighth seed against Chicago (as of today, January 12). Portland is also in the eighth spot, but has been trading position back and forth with the Sacramento Kings ( which will probably end soon as the Kings begin their road trip) and the Denver Nuggets aren’t that far behind. The Blazers were in free fall before Lillard sprained his ankle and while his injury was a mitigating factor in the recent losses, it doesn’t explain the earlier ones.
While the All-Star game is indeed a popularity contest, some of the more popular players are not on my radar due to the reasons above, or because I just don’t like them or their team. Irving barely made it on my list because he went to Duke (I am a die-hard UNC Tarheels fan), but he is like the nitrogen to James’ oxygen for the Cavs and has been putting in serious work. As for Golden State…
While Wall, Lillard, and others who may be on the All-Star bubble can certainly turn things around by the end of the season, All-Star voting ends on January 16. Oh well…there’s always the All-Star reserves, who are named by the NBA coaches.
Again, I settled on my favorites in the East, though at one point I had four and was voting for a different Eastern Conference player each day (via voting on the NBA site). I haven’t tweeted any preferences because I don’t want to show my hand. Based on the first fan voting returns, only three of my votes have any traction across both conferences to make the starting team. *Sigh* Let’s go, reserve team!
Again, if All-Star voting is your thing, voting ends on January 16. You can vote here (once per 24-hour period), via the NBA app, or tweet your player’s first and last name (or Twitter handle) and add the hashtag #NBAVOTE. This works on Facebook, too. The All-Star starters will be announced on January 19, and the reserves will be announced on January 26.
You can also do a Google search for the NBA All-Star vote, which will take you to the proper link to cast your vote.
And please, for the love of Hooked on Phonics, spell Giannis Antetokoumpo’s name correctly so he can get some All-Star love.
Safeguards are in place to count the votes that feature misspelled names (no worries, Kyle Lowry!), but it’s always worth it to do it right the first time. Though there are those who like to push the envelope…homerism is real in the NBA streets.
Thanks for stopping by.