Early NBA All-Star Voting Returns Need a Recount
The first returns from NBA All-Star voting have come in, thanks to Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld, and one thing is clear. Either fans have spoken their minds accordingly, or a recount needs to happen, and fast. Some of the numbers just plain don't make sense and need to be addressed.
For example, Philadelphia 76ers center Andrew Bynum (pictured) has managed to get 68,596 votes without even playing in one game this season. Granted, injured players like Amar'e Stoudemire and Dirk Nowitzki also received a good number of votes (a combined 127,322, to be exact), but they at least have timetables for their return and are locks for consistent production. The same cannot be said for Bynum.
Similarly, various role players seem to have accumulated a good number of votes, in some cases more than established star players.
Just the same, the early voting numbers for NBA All-Star Weekend seem way off. Some don't make any sense, and a recount needs to happen immediately.
No. 8: Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves
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Votes He Received: 112,922
Votes He Deserved: 84,000
Kevin Love is a superstar in Minnesota, and he likely received so many votes because of the averages he has posted since returning from a broken hand. In 10 games, the former UCLA Bruin has averaged 19.9 points and 14.2 rebounds.
Those numbers are not bad by any means, but they do not at all reflect Love's shooting percentages. Normally accurate from both the paint and the perimeter, he is shooting just 36 percent from the field and a horrific 20 percent from three-point range. His free-throw percentage is no better, at 67 percent.
These are not the percentages of an All-Star. Yes, Love is still getting back into a groove, but to reward him anyway despite his slow start is absurd. Minnesota is in a great position to contend, and it cannot do that unless he is back on track.
This means not rewarding him with a trip to the All-Star Game, as painful as that may be.
No. 7: Deron Williams, Brooklyn Nets
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Votes He Received: 211,426
Votes He Deserved: 78,000-80,000
Look, I get it. Deron Williams is a big-name point man with a big fanbase, and he's going to get a lot of votes no matter what. This season has just been below-average for him, but he still ranks third in voting for the Eastern Conference's backcourt.
Williams has career averages of 17.6 points and 9.1 assists per game, and has shot 45 percent from the field and 35 percent from long range. He has not been so lucky in 2012-13, averaging 16.7 points and 8.5 assists while shooting just 39 percent from the floor and 28 percent from downtown.
The scoring and assist averages aren't bad, but nowhere near what Williams is capable of. He could easily average a double-double on the season with the talent he has alongside him in Brooklyn, but he just doesn't have his usual consistency.
He still is an All-Star guard, arguably, but just not on the level where he should be receiving over 100,000 votes.
No. 6: Ricky Rubio, Minnesota Timberwolves
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Votes He Received: 54,744
Votes He Deserved: 25,000
In Ricky Rubio's defense, he was not among the top-five vote-getters for the Western Conference's backcourt. Regardless of that, he is only a second-year player and has yet to appear in a game this season as he recovers from ACL surgery.
Granted, the man is a future perennial All-Star, but he still should not participate this season for two reasons. First, he won't have played in enough games to even warrant consideration by the time All-Star Weekend rolls around.
Second, his numbers from last year aren't exactly mind-blowing.
Rubio averaged 8.2 assists and 2.2 steals per game as a rookie, and showed that he could handle the ball well on top of playing great defense. On offense, he left something to be desired.
He averaged 10.6 points on just 36-percent shooting and struggled with his shot selection every so often. Any votes he receives this year are likely from those fascinated by his pretty passes and defense, but that alone is not enough to earn him a trip to the All-Star Game.
No. 5: Jason Terry, Boston Celtics
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Votes He Received: 36,147
Votes He Deserved: 8,000
Jason Terry is a pure shooter who does best in a faster offense, but he has surprisingly been able to hold his own in the slower game of the Boston Celtics. Unfortunately, he is still not All-Star material this year.
The man is averaging just 11.4 points per game, well below his career average of 16. Terry is also shooting a respectable 45 percent from the field and 36 percent from three-point range, but is still more of a role player in Boston's lineup. The fact that he received more votes than Brandon Jennings and Jrue Holiday is just a bit ridiculous.
Don't get me wrong. Terry is still a fine player and is having a good season, all things considered. He just doesn't belong on the All-Star team over younger and better players.
No. 4: Jeff Green, Boston Celtics
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Votes He Received: 36,080
Votes He Deserved: 6,500
Now, if Green's vote total were a fan poll for the Slam Dunk Contest, I wouldn't have an issue at all. Green is a sensational dunker and already is a serious candidate for Dunk of the Year.
His overall numbers, however, are anything but All-Star caliber. He is averaging 10 points and three rebounds off the bench, but he does not score consistently enough to warrant All-Star consideration. He is a long way from where James Harden was during his days with the Oklahoma City Thunder, and the fact that he even got as far as the top ten in early voting is unbelievable in itself.
Green certainly may be fun to watch, but to say he's an All-Star is a bit of a stretch. With players like Paul George of the Indiana Pacers having better seasons, it's puzzling how Green got so many more votes.
No. 3: Andrew Bynum, Philadelphia 76ers
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Votes He Received: 68,596
Votes He Deserved: Less than 10,000
Bynum was great for the Los Angeles Lakers last season and certainly deserved his trip to the 2012 All-Star Game. This season, considering how he has yet to appear in one game for the Philadelphia 76ers, his vote count is absolutely ridiculous.
The man should not have so many All-Star votes, not only because he has yet to play this season, but because he defines inconsistency. Prior to last season, he was a lock to get injured and miss a great number of games. His numbers were alright, but not mind-blowing.
The fact that Bynum hasn't suited up for the Sixers this season is just the icing on the cake. He is simply not an All-Star player, regardless of how well he played in 2011-12.
No. 2: Jeremy Lin, Houston Rockets
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Votes He Received: 298,319
Votes He Deserved: 40,000
Let's be honest, fans. Any votes that Lin has received are because of that brief stretch of Linsanity last season. He has been less than average in Houston, posting 11.3 points and 6.1 assists per game, shooting just 40 percent from the field.
Even if Lin does turn things around starting tonight, he still shouldn't have more votes than teammate James Harden, nor Oklahoma City Thunder point man Russell Westbrook. He currently ranks third in the Western Conference backcourt voting, and his vote count is clearly inflated.
Were it not for Linsanity, he probably would not even be on the ballot.
No. 1: Shane Battier, Miami Heat
Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports
Votes He Received: 59,419
Votes He Deserved: 0
When I read that Battier had received that many votes, I burst out laughing.
Don't get me wrong. He has a great deal of talent, but is little more than a shooter for the defending champion Heat. Almost every shot he takes is from behind the three-point line, and he currently ranks ninth in three-point percentage at 45 percent.
In fact, that is really the only All-Star quality Battier has. He is only averaging 6.7 points and 2.2 rebounds per game, and the only part of his game even worth discussing is his three-point shooting.
If he is to be invited to participate in the Three-Point Shootout, that's absolutely fine. To put him on the Eastern Conference All-Star Team, though? That's just a bad idea.