The NBA moved away from fan voting being the only factor in determining the All-Star starters after the 2016 game when veteran role player Zaza Pachulia nearly became a starter thanks to a push from a Vine star (bet you didn’t think you’d read that sentence today). NBA commish Adam Silver changed the parameters for picking All-Star starters the next year, and now the vote is split between the fans (50 percent), media (25 percent), and players (25 percent). Each conference will have three frontcourt players and two guards selected as starters.
The All-Star fan voting results still generates plenty of attention in the NBA even if it’s no longer the sole determining factor. On Thursday, the league announced its first round of returns on the fan vote. As always, the fans got some things right and some things wrong. Let’s dive into it.
The 2022 NBA All-Star Game will be played in Cleveland on Sunday, February 20, 2022.
Warriors’ Stephen Curry and Nets’ Kevin Durant lead the NBA’s first All-Star fan voting returns: pic.twitter.com/3812PFdcGb— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 6, 2022
Let’s start with what the fans got right
- Stephen Curry as the leading vote-getter, with nearly 2.6 million votes so far. He was No. 1 on my MVP ballot earlier this week, so kudos to the fans for getting that right.
- LeBron James and Nikola Jokic are correctly the top-two frontcourt vote-getters in the West. I’d put Jokic over LeBron this season no question, but I won’t raise too much issue with the order considering LeBron is having an incredible year at age-37 when he’s been available.
- The fans got the top-three frontcourt vote-getters in the East correct: Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid. Those are three of the five- or six best players in the league right now, and the fans nailed it.
- DeMar DeRozan as the East’s leading backcourt vote-getter. Hitting two buzzer-beaters in a row will up the vote, I guess. DeRozan has been incredible all year, and his career-best season is the biggest reason the Chicago Bulls are shocking the league as the current No. 1 seed in the East.
What the fans got wrong with 2022 NBA All-Star voting
- Andrew Wiggins over Draymond Green: Listen, Wiggins’ resurgence this year is a nice story, and there’s an All-Star case to be made for him even if I’m not buying it yet. But him getting more votes than Draymond is madness. Green is the ultimate no-stats All-Star: the type of player who can dominate a game with his mind even when he’s not putting up big numbers. Green has been the anchor of Golden State’s No. 1 defense, and his hyper-quick decision-making on offense has helped make everything go for the Warriors. It’s results like this one that make me think Draymond remains the most underrated player of this generation.
- Klay Thompson should not be fourth in Western Conference backcourt voting. Here’s my argument: he hasn’t played a game yet. Seems pretty ironclad to me.
- Carmelo Anthony should not have more votes than Rudy Gobert. Melo having a solid year for the Lakers has been a really nice story, but c’mon: Gobert is one of the best centers alive, and he’s anchoring a Jazz team that much, much better than the Lakers. Gobert is a lock to make this game, but it’s a shame the fans don’t respect his impact on the court.
- Derrick Rose should not be ahead of Darius Garland and Fred VanVleet: D. Rose was having a really good year for the Knicks before he suffered an ankle injury, but he wasn’t quite playing at an All-Star level. Both Garland and VanVleet are playing like All-Stars this year. It’s likely only one of the two gets picked for the actual game, and that’s the best All-Star race we have going this year.
- Kyrie Irving shouldn’t be list at all. Seems pretty clear cut.
- James Harden shouldn’t have more votes than Trae Young. Harden has bounced back from his slow start, but Young has been better all season. Really, Young is playing like a mini version of Harden back in his Rockets days. He’s a one-man offense unto himself who should start for the East.
Got any other gripes? Let’s hear them in the comments.