So the All-Star lineups and captains were announced for the ASG, and they made complete sense. If you haven’t seen them, they are below…
G – Kemba Walker
G – Kyrie Irving
F – Kawhi Leonard
F – Giannis Antetokounmpo, Cpt.
F – Joel Embiid
G – Steph Curry
G – James Harden
F – LeBron James, Cpt.
F – Paul George
F – Kevin Durant
Now, in terms of talent and pedigree, I cannot argue with the starters. I can argue that the new rules of the ASG are crap, since it views the center position as unnecessary. With that thought, there are three snubs that come to mind, and all are in the West. Why not the East you may be asking? Well, outside of Blake Griffin, there are no other players (since Oladipo went down) that I consider great players, but Blake is not better than any of the starters for the East.
Before even going further, let’s remember how the new voting system is thanks to all of the Warriors’ bandwagon fans. After 2016, the voting was changed to reflect how Javale McGee and Zaza Pachulia almost made the ASG. To change this, they changed the voting to 50% fans, 25% player, and 25% media. What this means is that the fan votes were discounted due to the fact that idiots were voting for their team and not for the actual talent on the court. Therefore, as is the case for most things, and over-correction occurs. So read on Warriors “fans”, and see what you have caused to happen…
Finally moving on to the snubs, there are three players who’s qualifications, talent, and votes seem to have been either misplaced or not counted. The three players are Anthony Davis, Nikola Jokic, and Luka Doncic. I’ll address the Slovenian elephant in the room last, seeing as many of you are wondering why he is even on the list, but he plays an important part in all of this…
Anthony Davis and Nikola Jokic not being All-Stars is a goddamn shame. There, I said it. First of all, this new change of 3 frontcourt players (which is how they are deciding to phrase it) is criminal. Center is the least valued position in the league, but second most important position on a team (behind point guard). Look at how the Warriors have been rumored to sign another center to their roster all season, and they already had five players that could play the position on the roster. FIVE! The Lakers center rotation was so bad that LeBron called in a favor to get Tyson Chandler for his team. Tyson played in seven games last year. You see where I am going with this? It is a travesty that they have to carry a defense, average over 60% from the field (which is considered average at the center position), and play over 30 minutes a game WHILE COVERING THE MOST DISTANCE RUN (by a player) IN A GAME. Think it’s easy to run from sideline to top of the key to sideline on defense, then run out to the offensive end where they have to set screens everywhere, roll after everyone, rebound, etc. Guess what happens if they score or don’t get the rebound? Run back and play defense of course! Pathetic media influencing something just to see more headline players than actually talented players be on the court.
Enough of that rant though, since this is more talking about the snubs that exist currently. I will not say that Anthony Davis, now, deserves to be in the starting lineup since he is currently injured. I also cannot say that Nikola Jokic deserved to make the team over Paul George. Paul is carrying the Thunder’s defense, and I have him as one of my dark horse MVP candidates. Same case could be made for Kevin Durant, who has carried the Warriors in Steph’s absence, even though I believe Jokic is more important to the Nuggest than Durant is to the Warriors. The issue I am seeing is that LeBron, who is injured and out for the forseeable future, is a starter over Jokic.
It is a tough battle to fight, and I know I may be one of the few in this corner, but Jokic has not only played better than LeBron, but he is not injured (knock on wood). I believe that LeBron is the best player in the NBA, don’t get me wrong. But this year, with him being injured? I mean, the Nuggets are the #1 seed in the West, and the Lakers are trying to stay in the playoffs currently. It’s purely a popularity vote, and no context of healthy or not is taken into account for this.
On the topic of popularity vote, this is where I begin to think this is purely a rigged system. For those of you that may not know, LeBron was one of the highest vote receivers in the NBA among the fans, placing at 1st in the West. The 2nd in the West was Luka Doncic. Not only is this the most votes received by a rookie, but he would have been a starter under the old system pre-2016. With almost 4.25 million votes, he would have been a starter with LeBron and Kevin Durant. Hell, if there was still centers, KD would have been on the bench STILL under the old system. However, when you look at the voting system, this is where you begin to see the bias rearing its ugly head.
Anthony Davis, while having less fans vote for him than Paul George, was ranked 3rd, 3rd, and 5th in all the categories, making his score across all three average out to 4. Paul was ranked 4th in all three, so a pretty easy average of 4. Luka, on the other hand was ranked 8th, 2nd, and 6th, which gave him a 4.5. Nikola Jokic was ranked 5th, 7th, and 5th, giving him an average ranking of 6. While obviously the NBA needs to fix it’s calculators at some point, the math makes no sense. With Anthony Davis being above Paul in 2/3 categories (which only account for 50% mind you), he gets shafted by the fans’ percentage to drop below Paul. Luka, on the other hand, is well and above the third highest fan vote receiver (which is KD) by over 1.1 million votes. However, this means nothing since he only received 2 media votes for the All-Star game, which paced him at 6th in that category. I mean, Steven Adams is on the list above Jokic in the fan vote, making Adams the 8th frontcourt player in the All-Star voting system.
If you could follow my points along, then you deserve my admiration, since I do not understand the math much myself. This all seems way to confusing to the average fan to call out, but trust me when I say that this voting system is meant to do that. I’ll dive more into the math on this to figure out the true weighting, since it seems that there is no accounting for the amount of votes at all, just the rank of them.