Oh, the Irony: Houston Rockets Complaining About NBA All-Star Voting Process

Ben Leibowitz@BenLeboCorrespondent IIIJanuary 24, 2014

HOUSTON - JULY 13:  Dwight Howard (R) poses with Houston Rockets owner Les Alexander (2L), Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey (L) and Houston Rockets head coach Kevin McHale after being introduced as the newest Houston Rocket at Toyota Center on July 13, 2013 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard was not voted into the 2014 NBA All-Star Game as a starter when the rosters were revealed Thursday on TNT. D12 was beaten out at the last minute by Minnesota Timberwolves star Kevin Love—who received nearly 8,000 more votes from fans—and that didn’t sit well in Houston.

Rockets general manager Daryl Morey took to Twitter Thursday to complain about the All-Star voting process, as well as Howard’s apparent snub from the starting lineup. Of course, this looks downright silly when one considers the historical irony for the Rockets.

Morey’s cantankerous stance rings hollow, though, because the fan vote won’t prevent Howard from making his eighth-career All-Star appearance as a reserve. He merely wasn’t voted in as a starter.

As the NBA community has seen in years past, the fan vote for NBA All-Star Weekend oftentimes becomes a popularity contest or a lifetime achievement award. That explains why Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant was voted in as a starter with 988,884 total votes despite playing just six games during the first half of the season.

Ironically, the Rockets franchise has also benefited from fan voting in years past.

OAKLAND, CA -OCTOBER 27: Yao Ming #11 of the Houston Rockets watching his team from the bench against the Golden State Warriors on October 27, 2010 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downl
Rocky Widner/Getty Images

In 2011, Rockets center Yao Ming received nearly 300,000 more votes than any other Western Conference center. This happened despite the fact that the 7’6” skyscraper only appeared in five games all season due to injuries.

In 2006, Tracy McGrady was voted in as an All-Star starter even though he missed 13 games due to injuries halfway through the month of January.

In addition to the historical context, Rockets center Omer Asik—who has sat out 25 straight games since Dec. 2—was the 14th-leading vote-getter among Western Conference frontcourt players. For unexplainable reasons, he received more votes than Golden State Warriors center Andrew Bogut and Timberwolves center Nikola Pekovic.

It’s rather humorous that Morey, as well as some Rockets fans, are complaining about D12 not getting voted in, because the franchise has benefitted quite a bit from the fan vote since the turn of the century.

On top of that, there’s still a chance Howard could be named a starter as an injury replacement for Bryant—as Morey alluded to via Twitter.

Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, meanwhile, pointed out the humor in that scenario:

Bryant could face a two-game suspension from the NBA if he doesn’t play, so he may look to avoid that, according to Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times.

“Our backups will be playing a lot if I go in there and do my two minutes and sit down,” Bryant said.

At the end of the day, the NBA is going to honor the fan vote. While K-Love was voted in over Howard, an argument could be made that Portland Trail Blazers power forward LaMarcus Aldridge was the biggest snub from the starting five.

LaMarcus Aldridge vs. Dwight Howard (2013-14 stats)
Aldridge24.7 PPG11.6 RPG2.9 APG1.0 BPG23.96 PER
Howard18.3 PPG12.6 RPG1.8 APG1.8 BPG21.89 PER

The Trail Blazers are also 3.5 games ahead of the Rockets in the Western Conference standings.

Howard is still going to make the team as a reserve, so Morey should quit his bellyaching and focus on improving his team for an inevitable playoff run.