The NBA released its second returns from fan voting for the 2017 NBA All-Star Game, and Golden State Warriors center Zaza Pachulia is still riding high.
Pachulia hauled in 823,736 fan votes — that’s more than twice as many as players like Isaiah Thomas, DeMarcus Cousins, Jimmy Butler, Chris Paul, and Carmelo Anthony. For context, he’s got more votes than Cousins, Karl-Anthony Towns, and LaMarcus Aldridge combined.
The Warriors big man is posting modest averages of 5.5 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. He’s averaged 7.1 points and six boards over his 13-plus-year career.
It’s no surprise Pachulia picked up the seventh-most fan votes; he did it last year, too. He’s enjoying obscene amounts of support from basketball fans in his home country of Georgia.
That’s the reason why fan voting only accounts for 50 percent of the total All-Star voting process.
This season, fan voting only accounts for half the All-Star votes. The other 50 percent is split evenly between players and media (ha!).
So even though Pachulia may have close to 1 million fan votes, he likely won’t get any votes from the other half of the process.
- Joel Embiid could become the first rookie to make the NBA All-Star game since Blake Griffin made it in 2011. He could join a legendary list of All-Star rookie big men that includes Yao Ming, Shaquille O’Neal, Tim Duncan, David Robinson, Patrick Ewing, and Hakeem Olajuwon.
- Jimmy Butler leapfrogged Carmelo Anthony for fifth place in the Eastern Conference frontcourt. Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis are sixth and seventh in fan voting. Derrick Rose also fell from fifth to sixth among guards.
- As it stands, Cleveland’s big three of LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love could start the All-Star game, leaving Isaiah Thomas and DeMar DeRozan’s 28.2 points per game each (tied for fourth-best in the league) on the outside looking in.
- Dwyane Wade hauled in the second-most fan votes among guards, more than DeRozan, Thomas, and Kyle Lowry.
- If the players and media don’t show overwhelming support for Russell Westbrook, he could come off the bench behind Stephen Curry, thus thwarting the Westbrook-James Harden-Kevin Durant reunion for all to see as All-Star starters.