On Monday, the NBA announced that starting lineup voting for the 2017 All-Star Game will start on Christmas Day 2016, or next Sunday. It will conclude on January 16, 2017, and the game will be on February 19 in New Orleans. There will be a change in regard to how the starting lineups will be selected:
- Fan voting will account for only 50 percent of the weight on a starting lineup (two backcourt, three frontcourt) for the East and West. The methods (social media voting, website, Google Search remain the same). The fans used to account for all of the weight.
- Selected media members will have a ballot to select their starting lineup for a weight of 25 percent. The media can only submit one ballot per person.
- NBA Players have a ballot to select their starting lineup for a weight of 25 percent. The players may vote for themselves or their teammates, but let’s assume that they generally put out a sound ballot that relatively few will quibble with.
The move to reduce the fan voting influence on the starting lineup is likely coming from a possibility of “unworthy” players winning enough votes to start in a game that was originally designed for the league’s best. In past years, we’ve seen a past-his-prime Allen Iverson win a starting spot in 2010 and Yao Ming winning one in 2011 despite playing five games in his final NBA season.
Also, we’ve seen some players with a major international following garner a large number of votes though you wouldn’t consider them All-Star caliber. For example, Jeremy Lin has received a high number of All-Star votes, many of them likely coming from East Asia throughout his career. Sure, Linsanity is over, but he does have a following, in particular among fans in Asia, though Lin is an American.
And in the WNBA, we’ve seen one player — Shoni Schimmel — win two All-Star starting appearances despite average performances in part due to her strong following from the Native American community — and lukewarm voting from other fanbases. Schimmel did win the 2014 All-Star Game MVP and has her star moments when she’s on. But she’s never been a starting-caliber player on whatever team she played on.
Let’s get back to the NBA and to the Wizards specifically. The Wizards players with the highest chance of being starters would be John Wall and Bradley Beal. If last year’s NBA All-Star voting rules were in place, it’s unlikely that either player will make the starting lineup. Though I wish it was a different story, the Wizards don’t have a rabid fanbase, so I feel that they would rank lower if fans were the only group involved in selecting the starting lineups.
But with media and player voting in place, the House of Guards could have a bigger chance of making the starting lineup. Both Wall and Beal are having career years despite the Wizards’ early struggles, so they could finish higher in the weighted standings than some may think.
So, what’s your reaction to the new voting rules? Do you believe that Wall, Beal, or any Wizards players will finish higher in the standings because of the new weighted system? Let us know in the comments below.