New NBA All-Star voting format leads to surprises

NBA All-Star Vote The results of the new system for the 2017 NBA All-Star vote are in and more than a few eyebrows were raised after everything was said and done. In previous years, the starters of the Eastern and Western Conference All-Star teams determined by fan voting. This year fan votes accounted for 50 percent, while players and media votes accounted for 25 percent each.

West Starters

Stephen Curry (GSW), James Harden (HOU), Kawhi Leonard (SAS), Kevin Durant (GSW), Anthony Davis (NOR)

East Starters

Kyrie Irving (CLE), Jimmy Butler (CHI), DeMar DeRozan (TOR), LeBron James (CLE), Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL)

Kevin Durant has been spectacular since moving to Golden State this season, so he was a respectable choice. LeBron James is the all-time leading scorer in the All-Star Game, making him an obvious shoe-in as well. Kawhi Leonard is in a career-year as he carries the torch for the San Antonio Spurs in the post-Tim Duncan era.

One of the surprising “snubs” of the voting results was Russell Westbrook (OKC), who is currently in the midst of an amazing, history-defining season. Westbrook, who was actually the lead vote-getter from the players and the media, is currently averaging a triple-double for the season with 30.6 ppg, 10.7 rpg, and 10.4 apg. The 2016-17 season is only halfway through, but Russell is still on pace to do accomplish something that’s been unheard of in recent eras. The last time an NBA player averaged a triple-double in a season was in 1961-62 and it was accomplished by legend and Hall-of-Famer, Oscar Robertson.

Westbrook was in a 3-way tie with both Stephen Curry and James Harden, but it was the fan votes that would end up being the tiebreaker, leaving the Oklahoma City phenom left out in the cold. It’s kind of mindblowing to think that a player of this caliber would not seem to be deserving of an NBA All-Star starting nod. However, to fair to all parties and sectors involved in the process. The Western Conference is stacked with talent and no one can really deny that any of the chosen starters are deserving of their spot. There simply isn’t enough room to accomodate all of the great players from the West.

One of the reasons a change was made to the selection process was that if things were left as they were, Zaza Pachulia (Georgia) of the Golden State Warriors would be starting at center for the Western All-Stars. In the end, the league officials made a call that All-Star starters not only have to be chosen by merit of their popularity, but also by their talent, skill, and performance this season.

22-year-old Giannis Antetokoumpo, who has simply exploded this 2016-17 and is reshaping the NBA, is set to make his All-Star debut. The “Greek Freak” and Kyrie Irving (Australia) are the two international players who made the cut.

DeMar DeRozan made the cut, but his teammate Kyle Lowry didn’t? DeRozan has been on a scoring tear this season, but Lowry’s strong play is at the very least equally pivotal in Toronto’s run this year.

Again, there are only five starting spots that can be filled and not everyone can be or will be satisfied with the results. Regardless, this season’s All-Star Game is primed to break records and entertain fans in a big way.

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