NBA All Star Game
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NBA on Sling: Who’s Really Making a Mockery of the All Star Voting?

The Hilarity of Unintended Consequences

Warriors head coach Steve Kerr last night ripped the players, saying they had “made a mockery” of the All Star balloting in their first year of voting. Did they? Does it matter?

“I am very disappointed in the players, though,” said Kerr, ahead of the Warriors lost 105-102 at Miami. “I mean, they’ve asked for a vote, and a lot of them just made a mockery of it.” Kerr went on to allude to the suspicious number of players who received just a single vote. “I saw the list. I saw all the guys who got votes, and I don’t know. Are you allowed to vote for yourself? So I don’t know, are guys voting for themselves?”

There were 324 ballots cast, and of the 283 players who received votes, 98 got just one, and another 51 got two. That doesn’t necessarily mean that guys were voting for themselves, maybe they were trading votes with teammates. Either way, “there were 50 guys on there who had no business getting votes,” Kerr noted, probably more. But while the players may have made a mockery of the process, was the end result all that atrocious?

The new process allows for three different blocs of voters, the fans, who count for 50%, players accounting for 25% and the media panel 25%, with each group voting for 3 front court and 2 backcourt players in each conference. A player’s ranking in each electorate is then weighted accordingly, and then averaged, and there are a series of tiebreakers if necessary.

The players who finished in the top 3 among the players’ vote were the same top 3 as in the media vote – once you get past the very best players, the differences between players starts to shrink, become more arguable. And the players didn’t do anything as crazy as the fans, who made of Zaza Pachulia #4 league-wide in balloting with 1,528,941 votes. And it wasn’t the players who kept Russell Westbrook out of the starting lineup by voting Steph Curry #1 – the players, like the media, had Steph at #3, where he belongs.

Should a player be allowed to vote for themselves? Probably not. But who cares? Unless there are stakes involved in the game, what does it matter? The NBA All Star Game is generally little more than a street ball exhibition where the players are just trying to show off. The final score last year was 196-173 for god’s sake. If the NBA wants only the very best players on the team, they should print out ballots that don’t include the likes of Marcelo Huertas. All due respect to Marcy, but his 2.5 ppg don’t really belong in the conversation, do they?

Watch Steve Kerr, Zaza Pachulia, Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors, Marcelo Huertas and the Lakers, Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder, and more this week on Sling.

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Wednesday, January 25

Golden State Warriors (38-7) vs Charlotte Hornets (23-22)
8pm ET on ESPN

Los Angeles Lakers (16-32) vs Portland (19-27)
10:30pm ET on ESPN

Thursday, January 26

Dallas Mavericks (15-29) vs Oklahoma City Thunder (26-19)
8pm ET on TNT

Los Angeles Lakers (16-32) vs Utah Jazz (29-17)
10:30pm ET on TNT

Friday, January 27

Houston Rockets 34-14) vs Philadelphia 76ers (15-27)
8pm ET on ESPN

Saturday, January 28

Los Angeles Clippers (30-16) vs Golden State Warriors(38-7)
8:30pm ET on ABC

Sunday, January 29

Oklahoma City Thunder (26-19) vs Cleveland Cavaliers (30-13)
3:30pm ET on ABC

Watch the NBA on ESPN by subscribing to Sling Orange, on TNT by subscribing to Sling Orange or Sling Blue, or on ABC by subscribing to Sling Orange + Broadcast Extra

All stats courtesy ESPN and Basketball Reference.