The NBA made major changes last month to its All-Star voting format.
For the first time in league history, NBA players, basketball media members and fans will determine the Eastern and Western conference startersin next month’s game in New Orleans.
The move was to help balance out the annual dilemma of fans voting in the most popular players over guys who actually deserve a spot in the All-Star game. Fans now make up 50 percent of the vote, with the media and NBA players splitting the remaining 50 percent.
A lot of people were up in arms with the new rules saying that All-Star week is for the fans and only fans should decide since media members already vote on season-ending awards (MVP, etc).
But the NBA did the right thing.
Have you ever heard of Zaza Pachulia? My point exactly.
Unless you are a die-hard NBA fan, chances are you’ve never heard of him. And just like he’s done throughout his entire career, the 13-year veteran is averaging a “whopping” 5.5 points and a “staggering” 5.7 rebounds per game this season.
Yet, the native of Tbilisi, Georgia is the frontcourt’s second-leading vote getter behind teammate Kevin Durant. In fact, Pachualia has more votes than DeMarcus Cousins, LaMarcus Aldridge and Blake Griffin COMBINED.
The popularity contest that serves players well in big markets, leaves out young stars in small markets such as Utah’s Rudy Gobert — who is averaging 12.3 points, 12.3 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game — along with his teammate Gordon Hayward who put up 28 points and nine rebounds against the defending champs earlier this week.
But thanks to the new voting changes, players such as Gobert and Hayward still have a decent shot at making their first All-Star appearance.
Below are the NBA vote totals through two rounds. Voting ends on Monday with starters named next Thursday.
1. Kyrie Irving (CLE) 971,362
2. Dwyane Wade (CHI) 514,866
3. DeMar DeRozan (TOR) 453,538
4. Isaiah Thomas (BOS) 401,671
5. Kyle Lowry (TOR) 256,668
6. Derrick Rose (NYK) 223,804
7. John Wall (WAS) 173,148
8. Jeremy Lin (BKN) 109,088
9. Kemba Walker (CHA) 105,637
10. Avery Bradley (BOS) 64,157
1. LeBron James (CLE) 1,066,147
2. Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL) 963,110
3. Kevin Love (CLE) 473,328
4. Joel Embiid (PHI) 457,300
5. Jimmy Butler (CHI) 400,448
6. Carmelo Anthony (NYK) 327,716
7. Kristaps Porzingis (NYK) 324,106
8. Paul George (IND) 249,484
9. Jabari Parker (MIL) 120,022
10. Tristan Thompson (CLE) 114,759
1. Stephen Curry (GSW) 990,390
2. James Harden (HOU) 961,685
3. Russell Westbrook (OKC) 899,024
4. Klay Thompson (GSW) 555,430
5. Chris Paul (LAC) 379,076
6. Damian Lillard (POR) 208,171
7. Eric Gordon (HOU) 191,407
8. Andre Iguodala (GSW) 130,224
9. Manu Ginobili (SAS) 122,333
10. Zach LaVine (MIN) 94,867
1. Kevin Durant (GSW) 987,479
2. Zaza Pachulia (GSW) 823,376
3. Kawhi Leonard (SAS) 630,766
4. Anthony Davis (NOP) 567,201
5. Draymond Green (GSW) 464,319
6. DeMarcus Cousins (SAC) 379,225
7. Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN) 223,979
8. LaMarcus Aldridge (SAS) 192,784
9. Blake Griffin (LAC) 172,393
10. Marc Gasol (MEM) 172,146