NBA fans have more freedom than ever in All-Star voting, but the results are as suspect as ever. Utah Jazz stars Gordon Hayward and Rudy Gobert clearly won’t be getting any help from fan votes.
The first returns of fan voting for the 2017 NBA All-Star Game were released on Twitter this week. Leading vote-getters to this point include your usual cast of characters. Cleveland Cavaliers stars LeBron James and Kyrie Irving had the most votes in the East while Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors topped the West.
Meanwhile, Utah Jazz fans looking for a little respect for their guys from fellow hoops junkies were left out in the cold. Gordon Hayward and Rudy Gobert, who have played at an All-Star level all season, failed to crack the Top 10 in voting for frontcourt players.
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While fans have more freedom than ever in terms of who they can vote for and the different ways they can cast their ballots, the first wave of voting results follow the same trends as always.
Household names and popular teams rule the roost.
The most obvious example of the latter is in the West, where Warriors big man Zaza Pachulia is second only to Durant among frontcourt players —
For the record, Pachulia is one of my favorite NBA players. In an alternate world where an All-Star spot is reserved for a hard-working, wily veteran we all like, he’s probably one of my top choices. However, the reality is that Pachulia is averaging 5.2 points and 5.8 rebounds in just 17.7 minutes per game for Golden State.
A solid, if unremarkable line from a player who has a history of getting social media support from high places and benefits from being on the Warriors. Not a strong case for an All-Star nod.
The situation conjures memories of 1990, when A.C. Green was voted an All-Star starter over Jazz legend Karl Malone. Because, you know… the Lakers (duh!). At the time, Malone was in the Top 5 in the NBA in scoring, rebounding and field goal percentage, with numbers that dwarfed Green’s.
However, there’s little chance of such an injustice happening today. Fan ballots now only count for 50 percent of the overall vote. Votes from NBA players and media make up 25 percent respectively to cover the other half.
Furthermore, the voting formula is based on a weighted average of where a player finishes among each voting segment. Total votes are irrelevant.
In other words, Pachulia would also have to rank near the top of both the player and media votes to make the squad. It’s probably safe to assume that this won’t happen. So the chances of Pachulia stealing a spot (potentially from Hayward and/or Gobert) are slim to none.