The All-Star voting changed this year (the game will be played in New Orleans on February 19th). Instead of the fans voting for the starters as a monopoly and it remaining a popularity contest, the voting included fans, media and players. The fan vote was worth 50%. Media and players vote was 25% each.
For guards in the west, even guards having a historical season, the problem is not enough spots. Three players were worthy but there were two slots. Russell Westbrook was the one who got jammed. And by the fans. Westbrook, the triple double God and one man show in OKC, was odd man out (but he’ll be in the game as a sub).
This is how. Westbrook was voted number one by the media and players. Steph Curry was voted number three by the media and players. But Curry was voted number one by the fans. Westbrook was voted number three by the fans. It was a tie. The tie breaker goes to the fans so Curry was in as a starter. (James Harden is the second guard starter for the west).
I am particularly bitter by this turn of events. All-Star 2017 was going to be a show to remember. Westbrook as a starter and Kevin Durant as a starter would have been epic. What was the over/under going to be for Westbrook’s death stares towards his former teammate and him freezing Durant out of each and every play, ignoring Durant for dunks or three pointers. It was going to be drama more entertaining than when Kobe and Dwight had to share the same locker room as teammates when they hated each other.
But the fans decided they loved Steph Curry more.
Still. The new rules are an upgrade even if Westbrook was the collateral damage. In the west, with their talent, every year there will be a victim. This year it was Russ.
Steph is not having a greater year individually than Westbrook. It was Curry who was on the bench on Xmas Day when Kyrie Irving made the game winning shot over Klay Thompson. Curry’s defense is spotty and Steve Kerr thought Shaun Livingston would have been a better matchup. But when does a two-time MVP get subbed out on the most crucial play of the game?
Steph’s numbers are down this year: points, field goal attempts, field goals made, three point attempts, three pointers made, three point percentage, two point percentage, free throws attempted, free throws made, offensive rebounding, defensive rebounding, total rebounding, assists, steals, offensive rating, PER.
What about Westbrook?
His numbers are up. Field goal attempts, field goals made, three point attempts, three pointers made, three point percentage, free throw attempts, free throws made, offensive rebounds, defensive rebounds, total rebounds, points, PER.
The bottom line is that the fans voted for Curry even though Westbrook is having a historical year.
What went right with the new voting system?
Zaza Pachulia can stay off my timeline. I don’t want to hear about him until he gets his just do on February 11th in OKC. The fans may have voted him in but the players and media didn’t. It will be Anthony Davis in the front court with Durant and Kawhi Leonard.
In the east, the popularity of Dwyane Wade meant nothing to players and the media. They voted him sixth and Wade is in danger of not being an All-Star. In his place is DeMar DeRozan who is having a career year. He will play next to Kyrie Irving in the backcourt. Kyrie hasn’t been as dominant for the Cavs like Isaiah Thomas has been for the Celtics but he’s been very good and that game winner on Xmas probably sealed his All-Star fate with fans, the media and players. Isaiah lost the fan tie breaker to DeRozan.
Joel Embiid who is turning into a huge fan favorite saw his stock drop among players and the media. Jimmy Butler is having a monster year and should have been rewarded. He joins LeBron and Giannis Antetokounmpo in the front court for the east.
The system is refreshing even if you hate Westbrook and Thomas as subs and not starters. Meritocracy is back. Great players on the back side of their careers are no longer going to have a free ride. That would be Carmelo and Wade. The All-Star game will be dominated forevermore by players in their 20’s having great seasons.
As it should be.