Pregame Post-Ups: Stevens Alters All-Star Voting Perspective
Friday, February 19 - Hawks at Celtics
Pregame – Stevens Alters All-Star Voting Perspective
Neither Jaylen Brown nor Jayson Tatum were voted in as All-Star starters when those results were determined Thursday afternoon. However, the two Celtics wings still have an opportunity to be selected among the game’s reserves, as their fates now rest in the hands of the NBA's head coaches.
“We’re certainly hopeful that they both make it,” said their own head coach, Brad Stevens, Friday evening before hosting the Atlanta Hawks. “I think they both certainly deserve it.”
Stevens can’t vote for Brown or Tatum as the league prohibits coaches from voting for their own players, but he still looks forward to the process each season. And this year, he’ll be basing his votes from a slightly different perspective due to the uniqueness of the condensed season and the challenges that have come with it.
“I think that I will look at it a little bit differently from my own perspective this year, just simply because each of these teams and all of the players around the East have all had different challenges that their teams have dealt with, right?” Stevens noted. “And so, maybe in the past it stands out when the top four or five, six teams have two or three players that are really carrying a load. Those people are in the highest contention for All-Star spots. This year, it's a little bit more difficult to discern that just because people are — being at .500 or a couple games below .500 with all that some of these teams have gone through is pretty damn impressive. And I think that I have to weigh that in when voting and when looking at it.”
If other coaches approach their voting with a similar perspective, then Brown and Tatum should both have a great chance of making it. Despite being on a team with a dead-even, 14-14 record, they have proven themselves as two of the Eastern Conference's most elite wings.
Brown is one of just four players in the East who is averaging at least 25 points per game while shooting more than 50 percent from the field and 40 percent from 3-point range along with Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Zach LaVine. It’s worth noting that those first two players have already been selected as starters.
Jayson Tatum, meanwhile, is one of just three players in the conference who is averaging at least 25 points, seven rebounds and four assists per game along with Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo, both of whom have locked up their spots as starters.
As Stevens suggested, the roller-coaster season that many teams, including the Celtics, are going through, perhaps shouldn’t factor into the All-Star voting process. And if the majority of the other 29 head coaches feel similarly, then we should be seeing both Brown and Tatum’s names among the elite group of reserves when they are announced Tuesday.
- Taylor Snow