So the 2017 NBA All-Stars has been selected. NBA fans pick each conference’s starters. Fan voting is very flawed. This is a very important recognition of talent and accomplishment that is turned over to fans, who can vote multiple times and are very biased.
This year, out west, fans mocked the All-Star voting process.
Golden State’s star point guard, Stephen Curry was selected to start for the Western Conference All-Star squad. Last year, Curry was the only unanimous pick for MVP in NBA history, as he led his team to the best regular season in NBA’s history and he is a NBA champion.
However, this year, he doesn’t deserve to start for the West.
The 2016-2017 NBA MVP candidate, Russell Westbrook’s triple-double season should represent the West. If his numbers hold up, he will become the first NBA player since Oscar Robertson with 41 triple-doubles in the 1961-62 season, to average a triple-double for an entire NBA regular season
The fact that Westbrook isn’t an All-Star starter speaks volumes to the need to reform the All-Star voting system.
There were two facts confirmed through the NBA rumor mill over the last few years about Westbrook. At one point, Westbrook was going to sign as a free agent with his hometown Los Angeles Lakers.
In the offseason, sources with Oklahoma City confirmed that Westbrook was going to be traded to the Boston Celtics had he not signed an extension for the current year.
I will almost guarantee you, if Westbrook had signed with either one of the other storied big market NBA franchises, he would have been starting in the 2017 NBA All-Star game for the Western Conference at New Orleans.
That is part of the problem with the fan voting of the All-Stars.
They vote for big names and big markets. In All-Star history, many undeserving players have been voted to start when their play wasn’t worthy of an All-Star start.
Last year, Kobe Bryant was voted to start in the NBA All-Star game, even though he was averaging a fairly mediocre 17.6 PPG and his team had the second worst record in the league.
In 2003, Michael Jordan was voted to be an All-Star starter. Jordan’s Washington Wizards were never a serious contender to make the playoffs that season, even in a historically weak Eastern Conference.
1992 was probably the most egregious year for fans picking All-Stars.
Larry Bird, who was one of the best-known athletes in America at that time, was voted to start on the All-Star team, even though the Celtics were in the middle of the Eastern Conference and Bird himself was too injured to start.
Also that year, Magic Johnson was voted as a NBA All-Star starter for the West, even though he was out of the league. He was voted to start due to the overwhelming support he received after he was diagnosed with AIDS.
Magic being selected was a great story and send off to a great NBA legend, but the honor should have gone to a player who was playing.
Look at all of the cities that these players represented in those selections. Boston, Los Angeles, and Chicago are all big market cities.
When Jordan was selected as a Wizard, he no longer played for the Chicago Bulls, but in American sports lore, Jordan is as much known for being with the Bulls, as Babe Ruth is to the New York Yankees.
Chicago is Jordan, and Jordan is Chicago. And that’s what Westbrook suffered from. He’s not playing for a big market, so fans won’t gravitate towards him the way they would for big market players.
Being selected as an All-Star is one of the NBA’s great honors. Being selected as an NBA All-Star starter means you are one of the greatest NBA players coming or going. That should be a coveted honor.
But with NBA fan voting making so many poor choices, being an NBA All-Star game starter will be as meaningless as being the leading scorer on the Brooklyn Nets.