Blogtable: Thoughts on new All-Star voting process for starters?
Each week, we ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the most important NBA topics of the day.
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NBA players and a panel of NBA media will join fans in selecting the starters for February’s All-Star Game. What do you think of this new selection process?
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Steve Aschburner: I’m from the “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” school, so I’m wondering why any changes were needed. We’ve been told that All-Star starting won’t be part of the criteria for paying out those super-duper-mega-star contract extensions in the new CBA — which is good, because “we” already cost Anthony Davis $24 million last spring by not putting him on an All-NBA squad. So my hunch is, they wanted the media’s inclusion a) to balance out some elements of the players’ and fans’ voting and b) to keep us involved enough to cover and debate the horse race. Bottom line: It’s an All-Star Game. It’s largely a popularity contest anyway, so let the fans choose the entire squads — or, say, 10 of the 12 spots, with a couple of “commissioner’s picks” to remedy oversights. NBA media already have the annual awards, the players created their own gilded back-patting spectacular two years ago and the coaches typically apply a standard — ruling out All-Star reserves from teams with losing records — that truly is arbitrary.
Fran Blinebury: I wish the league would turn the All-Star voting over to the players entirely, so they would have nobody else to blame for the raft of annual snubs. By the way, it is an All-Star Game, an exhibition, a fantastic show. Just relax and enjoy.
Scott Howard-Cooper: Does the outcome of the game determine home-cout advantage for The Finals? No? Then I’m pretty much good with anything. (Nice fix, baseball. Finally.) But the media voting is a bad idea, most of all for the media. It’s the same as with the postseason awards: Cover the news, don’t help make it. And certainly don’t help determine contracts, as in the cases of the old Derrick Rose Rule. It’s great that the players and owners give us that level of credibility, but terrible that some in the media take them up on it.
Shaun Powell: Meh. There was nothing wrong with fans voting for starters. Yes, every now and then we’d get some controversy and a curious choice, but otherwise, it gave the fan a sense of purpose other than buying tickets and merchandise. This change is kind of saying, “You guys don’t know what you’re talking about so we’re getting some experts to help out.”
John Schuhmann: Checks and balances is a good thing. I respect the idea of fans wanting to see their favorite players, but there have definitely been occasions in the last several years where a deserving player didn’t make the All-Star team because an undeserving player was voted in as a starter. But while we’re having this conversation, why aren’t we adding a 13th roster spot for each team?
Sekou Smith: I’m fine with it. I like a jury of your peers being a part of any selection process. The cross-section of voters only serves to legitimize the process for the legion of cynics out there who will undoubtedly complain when their favorite player(s) doesn’t make the cut. Truth is, most seasons it’s hard to mess up the All-Star selections. We all see the games and know who is playing at an All-Star level and who is not playing to that standard. Now we can share in the decision-making part of the process.
Ian Thomsen: I like the checks-and-balances point of view. Instead of enabling unworthy players to threaten by way of international ballot, the starting lineups will now represent a convergence of viewpoints, with the biggest say still going to the fans. Just as it should be.
Lang Whitaker: How about we see how this works before we decide how we feel about it? I don’t think the fans have done a bad job electing deserving players to the game, but having a wider view can’t hurt, can it? Honestly, I’d rather the media have a vote in the way reserves are selected than the starters, but we’ll take what we can get.
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