NBA fans love Luka Doncic. NBA fans love Derrick Rose. Luka received the second most fan votes in All-Star voting and Rose received the fourth most votes- more than MVP doing his best Kobe imitation James Harden. But neither Doncic nor Rose are going to be All-Star starters and both depend on NBA coaches voting them in as a reserve.
The player vote wasn’t kind to Doncic. He finished 8th. Rose finished 4th in player vote. Doncic finished 6th in media vote, same as Rose. The bottom line for them both, who are having very good seasons, is that the players are an important bloc (even though a lot of players vote for themselves and don’t take it too seriously). Luka, the rookie phenom, and DRose, the comeback baller, had to outperform elite players at their position. Players didn’t think they did.
Players voted in Paul George, Kevin Durant and LeBron James over Luka. And Steph Curry, James Harden over DRose.
Now it is the coaches turn to vote and this is where Luka has a shot. Anthony Davis is a given. So is Nikola Jokic. Then who? LaMarcus Aldridge (21 points, 9 rebounds)? Karl-Anthony Towns (23 points, 12 rebounds)? Steven Adams (15 points, 10 rebounds)? Rudy Gobert (15 points, 13 rebounds)?
Luka’s numbers fit right in. He is a 20 point scorer but he doesn’t rebound like Aldridge, Towns, Adams and Gobert and that may be what keeps Luka on the sidelines his rookie year.
As for Derrick Rose. He has a much harder hill to climb. Damian Lillard and Russell Westbrook are givens. I think Rose (19 points, 5 assists) can jump over Klay Thompson (22 points, 4 rebounds) who struggled early and has just bounced back into form the last few weeks. But Rose has to leapfrog DeMar DeRozan (22 points, 6 assists) and possibly Donovan Mitchell (22 points, 3 assists). Mitchell, like Klay Thompson, struggled early and he is back to being Donovan Mitchell but is it too late. Is, Mitchell too young? Plus a knock on Mitchell is that he isn’t an assist maker nor is he a rebounding guard. He scores in an Allen Iverson-lite way.
The new All-Star format which takes 50% of the vote away from the fans was a much needed fix from the popularity contest it used to be. It just wasn’t fair and wasn’t aligned with the other major sports. The downside is not seeing Dwyane Wade one last time.
But none of the starters are question marks and it points out how hard it is to make the All-Star game, how superlative you have to be. Rose, though disappointed if he doesn’t make the game in Charlotte, has had many an All-Star moment. Luka will have many in the future. Just give him time.