Fans Don’t Deserve NBA All-Star Vote

With the league thriving with talent, voting for the NBA All-Star Game should be simple but some voters are struggling with the responsibility.

At a time when Golden State Warriors center Zaza Pachulia has more NBA All-Star Game votes than DeMarcus Cousins, Karl-Anthony Towns and Marc Gasol combined, it’s becoming obvious the fans can’t be trusted.

It may be the natives in Georgia voting for Zaza 823,376 times. It may be trolls on social media.

Regardless of the culprits, the ramifications could be damaging to the players and the game itself.

On the Lowe Post Podcast, Jeff Van Gundy had some strong words directed at NBA fans:

“I don’t even know why we keep having the fans … like, they demonstrate every year that they don’t deserve a vote and we keep giving them a vote. I don’t understand it.”

One year after Pachulia fell just 14,000 votes short of a starting spot in the 2016 All-Star Game, there’s not a lot anyone can say to disagree with Van Gundy.

Not only did the voters nearly have Zaza starting ahead of genuine MVP contender Kawhi Leonard, they gave 1.8 million charity votes to a 37-year-old Kobe Bryant with his 35 percent shooting and average of 17 points per game.

The reprehensible Pachulia voters have been well documented, but he’s not the only player undeserving of too many votes this year.

Derrick Rose (223,804 votes) — who may decide to not even show up if given a spot — is sandwiched between Kyle Lowry (256,668) and John Wall (173,148). There’s no question Lowry and Wall are far better and more deserving of an All-Star Game appearance than Rose.

The pair both average more points, rebounds, assists and steals while shooting a better percentage everywhere except the free-throw line.

It’s irresponsible to have Rose in the same conversation as two of the Eastern Conference’s best point guards and the implications could be costly.

Just 14,001 more votes and a starting spot for Pachulia in last year’s All-Star Game could have cost Anthony Davis $23 million.

For players like Davis, Wall and Lowry, it’s likely their contracts include incentives that revolve around All-Star appearances. Players being denied these bonuses due to non-cognizant voters will not only cost them financially, but may cost some players their place in history.

The names scattered around the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame had their careers assessed and scrutinized before being inducted. Longevity, championships, statistics, All-NBA appearances and individual awards are all parts of the criteria voters dissect.

So are the number of All-Star Game appearances.

A missed appearance for a deserving player due to the inclusion of a Zaza Pachulia or Derrick Rose seems unfathomable, but it might not be. Who’s to say a ballot won’t be decided by an All-Star Game appearance?

The system in which we determine All-Star players is broken. It allows the biased and willfully ignorant a chance to influence a player’s achievements, bank balance and standing in NBA history.

When a country of 4.4 million people such as Georgia, along with a few Internet trolls, could possibly vote in a player ahead of the 318 million people in the U.S. and its plethora of superior players, something is wrong.

The NBA has made big strides in regards to fixing these issues by halving the influence these fan votes have on the final results. By now giving 25 percent of the votes to media members and 25 percent to players, the Zaza issue should be eliminated, but it may not yet be the best way.

There’s one group supremely qualified to make these decisions and reward players for their performances — the players themselves.

By having the players vote, we get the most qualified opinions and the fairest results.

There can be no complaints from snubbed players. No controversies over illegitimate or fake votes. And no question we get who the players think are the most deserving to be on the court come game time.

With social media growing at a rapid rate, many would argue that stupid is advancing at an equal pace. It’s time to take All-Star voting away from the fans until they prove they can handle the responsibility because right now, they can’t.

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