The Problem With NBA All-Star Voting
(Photo Credit: USA TODAY Sports)
On Thursday, the NBA released the results of the first round of All-Star Fan voting for the 2020 All-Star Game.
Some of these results were expected and well deserved. LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Kawhi Leonard topped the frontcourt voting, and Luka Doncic and James Harden led the voting for the guards in the Western Conference. On the Eastern Conference side, last season’s MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo led the frontcourt voting, while Trae Young led the guards voting.
Sadly, fan voting has resulted in people picking “fan-favorites” or players with “cult followings” who do not deserve to be all-stars. We saw this a few years ago when Zaza Pachulia was almost voted into the starting lineup for the All-Star Game by fans despite him being far from deserving. This causes those who actually deserve to get All-Star votes to be overlooked in the voting and possibly denied opportunities to make the team. Obviously, the fan voting only counts for the starting fives for each All-Star team. However, this should not excuse the fact that fan voting does not accurately award players based on their performances in any given season.
In the Western Conference fan voting, Dwight Howard came in tenth place for frontcourt voting. In his prime, he was arguably the best center in the NBA. Now he is the backup center for the Lakers (JaVale McGee starting over him) and averages seven points and just under seven rebounds on the year. There is no reason why he should have more votes than other frontcourt candidates who are having much better seasons including Andrew Wiggins, LaMarcus Aldridge, Rudy Gobert, and Hassan Whiteside, among others.
In the guard section for the Western Conference fan voting, Stephen Curry came in fourth place, despite the former two-time MVP only playing in four games this year and being ruled out for the remainder of the season with an injury. Even worse, Alex Caruso, the Lakers point guard, who Bleacher Report and ESPN have uncanny obsessions with because he is white and has a receding hairline, placed eighth. Caruso is averaging almost five and a half points, two rebounds, and just under two assists this season. Guards such as Devin Booker, Ja Morant, CJ McCollum, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander are having all-star caliber seasons but are all behind Caruso.
In the Eastern Conference fan voting, things are just as ridiculous. Tacko Fall, the Celtics’ towering center has accumulated a large cult following due to his 7-foot-5 height. He came in sixth place in the frontcourt fan vote but has only appeared in three games this season. Fall actually spends most of his time with the Maine Red Claws of the G-League. He is an exciting player to watch and seems like a genuinely good, well-liked person. However, he should not be getting more votes than players such as Bam Adebayo, Gordon Hayward, Andre Drummond, Domantas Sabonis, and Nikola Vucevic.
In the backcourt, Kyrie Irving placed second. Irving had a brilliant start to the year, averaging 28.5 points, 5.4 boards, and 7.2 assists, but he has only played in 11 games this season and has not played since November. The fact that he has barely played this year should keep Irving away from anywhere near the top ten guards’ voting list. To make matters worse, Irving was voted above players including Jaylen Brown, Bradley Beal, Kyle Lowry, Zach LaVine, and Ben Simmons. All of these players are having much more productive seasons than Irving and have actually played in the majority of their team’s games.
These voting results are very problematic. When fans vote for the players who they like and players who are viewed as “memes” and who are only popular because of NBA Twitter, it disrespected many players who deserve to make the All-Star Game and even disgraces the game of basketball to an extent. If fans are not going to vote for players who are qualified to be all-stars, and if they are going to troll and joke instead, they should lose their voting privileges. If NBA players were allowed to vote for the starting fives, rather than fans, many of these issues could go away.
As always, let me know what you think. Do you think that fan voting for the NBA All-Star Game is ineffective? Would you prefer the voting system to change?