In 38 days, the elite of the NBA will combine forces in Cleveland, Ohio for the 71st NBA All-Star Game. How many members of the Phoenix Suns in attendance remains to be seen. Currently posting the best record in the NBA, the Phoenix Suns will surely have someone present to represent the purple and orange. But will they have anyone starting?
If the fans have anything to do with it, neither Devin Booker nor Chris Paul will be announced with the starting lineup in Cleveland. The NBA released the results for the second round of fan voting on Thursday morning, and despite a social media push that even included Kendall Jenner hopping on Twitter and showcasing her support, members of the best team in the NBA find themselves further down the list than they probably should be:
Golden State’s Stephen Curry, Brooklyn’s Kevin Durant, Lakers‘ LeBron James and Bulls‘ DeMar DeRozan continue to lead in the NBA’s second All-Star Game fan voting returns: pic.twitter.com/Ml9CPPdvLi— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 13, 2022
Devin Booker remains in fifth place and Chris Paul has fallen to seventh in guard voting, while Deandre Ayton remains in tenth place in the West front court (he would be fifth in the East). Russell Westbrook, who has led his team to a 1-2 record and averaged 20% from the field in the week since the first fan results were posted, jumped from ninth in guard voting to fifth.
I know that we shouldn’t care about these results. I know that the fan voting philosophy is flawed. But still, it ticks my bombs. What compounds the idiocracy of the fan vote is the weight it is given to final voting. 50% of the NBA All-Star starters is determined by the fans, while the remaining 50% is split between players and the media. Head coaches select the reserves.
You’ve heard the argument before, but it bears repeating that the 50% is too much to give to the fans in selecting the starting lineups. I understand Adam Silver wants to fortify the league’s appeal by giving the fans what they want, but ultimately that decision undermines the efforts of those who have earned an opportunity to add “All-Star starter” to their resume. By allowing the fans to dictate the starting five for both conferences, you allow the teams and players with the largest fan bases to flex their might rather than those who have had the best year.
Case in point? Simply look at the results. Klay Thompson has 100,721 more votes than Devin Booker. Don’t get me wrong, three years ago Klay was clearly a better player than Booker. But in 2022, Klay has not put together a resume that would or should be compared to Devin. Yet the Golden State Warriors fan base, which has grown exponentially over the past decade, has put Thompson above Booker and Paul, and Andrew Wiggins ahead of Paul George. Kudos to that fan base for banding together and putting them there, but again, we all know it isn’t right.
It comes down to a simple statement made by Tommy Lee Jones’ character Kay in the 1997 blockbuster movie Men In Black: “A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.”
People have voted. And people have once again failed to reward those who have earned their chance to start in the All-Star Game.
It’s great having the fan vote. It makes for engagement on Twitter. I’m 100% for the fan vote. And 100% for it not being weighted the way it is. Alas, it is what it is. Like the NCAA screwing up the College Football Playoff by only having four teams participate, you just have to live with it.
What can Suns fans do to try to swing the vote? Do just that…vote. For the love of God, please do it correctly.
- One way is to visit nba.com and follow the links to vote, or click right here!
- If you vote via Twitter, you must include two things: #NBAAllStar and the hashtag followed by the full name of the player you are voting for. Example: #DevinBooker
Let’s get it done, Suns fans. It’s an unfair and most likely rigged system. All we can do is our part.