NBA Players Deserve a Say in Who Makes the All-Star Game
Democracy may be the world's greatest form of government, but it doesn't come without its flaws.
The NBA's semi-democratic approach to its All-Star voting lends itself to a variety of voices inputting their two cents on the game's most deserving stars.
Yet, somehow the only voices lost in the selection process are those of the very players themselves.
The fans select the game's starters, with the final ballots cast on Monday night. The lineups will be announced on TNT on Thursday.
As for the reserves, those are selected by the league's coaches.
The coaches have a better voting track record (and far greater voting credentials) than the fans, but neither group offers the on-court knowledge of the NBA players.
There may be players that overvalue some of their teammates and undersell some of the players they're not so fond of, but is that any different than the biases put forth by the fans when casting their ballots?
The fans certainly don't miss all of their picks, but how many underperforming (or worse, injured) players need to steal a ballot-stuffed spot from a more deserving peer before the league is forced to take action?
Fans have shown a tendency to vote with either blind loyalty to a major-market franchise (I'm looking your way, Houston Rockets fans) or the inability to recognize the decline among former starters (or worse, that undeserved body of work vote, awarding players a roster spot for their past dominance).
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Considering what's at stake for the players (from roster bonuses and contract clauses reached to the overall growth in national marketability and the obvious financial implications that would stem forth), the league cannot limit the game to just a popularity contest.
Even without the ridiculous importance levied on Major League Baseball's All-Star game, the game offers tangible rewards in addition to the intangible pride attached with a deserved roster spot. Allowing the players the opportunity to select the participants offers the snubs an identifiable target for their frustrations, perhaps spurring an All-Star performance in the following season.
Kevin Garnett and Dwight Howard (both All-Star starters as of the league's most recent returns released, via NBA.com) aren't the egregious fan selections seen in past seasons (they've actually played this season, something 2011 fan pick Yao Ming barely did), but they're not enjoying the successful seasons of should-be starters Tim Duncan and Chris Bosh.
Biggest complaint with the game's assumed starters?
The vote couldn't have been based on team success, considering Duncan's San Antonio Spurs and Bosh's Miami Heat have compiled 17 more victories than Garnett's Boston Celtics and Howard's Los Angeles Lakers.
Rather, the vote was likely handed down because fans know Garnett and Howard as All-Star starters.
The fans shouldn't have their voices completely removed. After all, without their support, this league would fall apart.
But maybe the collective vote of the fans could be given a percentage of the overall votes in the process to go along with a relative percentage given to the vote of the players.
But I'll leave that up to David Stern's discretion. Or maybe Adam Silver's.
As long as some change in the process is in the works, the All-Star game can retain as much credibility as any glorified exhibition game can have.
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