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The NBA All-Star Voting Is Simply A Popularity Contest

The 2024 NBA All-Star Weekend is less than a month away now and there is a huge problem with the voting: it is less about who is playing better and more about who is more popular. 

Here are the current NBA All-Star fan results after the third returns.

The 3rd returns have recently come out, with Giannis Antetokounmpo leading the overall votes and Lebron James leading the West. This isn’t that controversial, as Giannis and Lebron are some of the best players in the NBA right now, with Giannis arguably being the best. However, it is apparent this season that Nikola Jokic has been playing much better than Lebron James, averaging more points, rebounds, and assists than him while also shooting more efficiently, all while playing fewer minutes per game than Lebron. Despite this, Jokic has nearly half a million fewer votes than Lebron this season, and the reason simply is that Jokic is Jokic and Lebron is Lebron, arguably the most-known player in NBA history, 

This idea of popularity can be seen evidently by looking at the Western Conference Backcourt votes, specifically looking at Shai Gilgeous Alexander and Stephen Curry. Currently, Curry is sitting at the number 2 spot in the voting right behind Luke Doncic, with around 2.6 million. SGA is behind him at number 3 with 2.3 million votes. If the voting ended today, then Curry would be a starter this year and Shai would be coming off the bench, however, Shai has been playing significantly better than Steph this season. Shai has averaged 31.1 points per game to Curry's 26.7, 5.6 rebounds per game to Curry’s 4.2, 6.3 assists per game to Curry’s 4.9, and 2.2 steals per game, the most in the NBA this season, to Curry’s 0.9 steals. He is also doing this while having a field goal of 54.9%, whereas Curry’s is only 44.6%. Shai also has a better defensive rating than Curry. He is averaging more blocks than Curry and fewer turnovers than Curry. The Thunder are also the second seed in the West whereas the Warriors are the 12th seed in the West. The only reason Curry has more votes than Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is because he is more popular and has more fans. 

This popularity contest can also be seen throughout the entire voting, James Harden has more votes than Anthony Edwards even though Edwards has been having a much better season. Damian Lillard has more votes than Donovan Mitchell, for some reason. Victor Wembanyama has more votes than Domantas Sabonis, even though Sabonis has been out-playing him in nearly every metric in the game, but who isn’t going to vote for the young rookie who everyone has been hyping up to become one of the greatest of all time. 

Now after determining that popularity is a huge factor in fans voting for the All-Star Game, the question is how can this be fixed? Currently, for choosing the starters for each conference, there is a 50% weight given to the fan results, and the media and player votes each receive 25%. However, the popularity situation can easily be fixed if the fan vote is lowered in terms of importance and the media and player votes are raised. Instead of giving fans 50% of the final decision as to who starts in the All-Star Game, the fans, media, and players should each get 33% of the weight as to who gets to be in that position.

This way, the fans don’t get to outvote the players and the media, which would lead to the current popularity contest being less likely to happen, as the media and players have been known to vote for the players who deserve to start in the game.

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Jan 23


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