The NBA’s new All-Star voting format brings fairness to the popularity contest
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It’s the time of year when the biggest stars in three of the four major U.S. sports gather for a weekend of fun competition and fan interaction.
The National Hockey League and the National Football League just finished their All-Star festivities in Los Angeles, California and Orlando, Florida. New Orleans, Louisiana is the next American city hosting the NBA All-Star Game from Feb. 17-19.
But are the players selected for the games the right ones?
The National Basketball Association finally got the voting system right – at least for this season. That is all fine since the fans are the ones spending the money and going the different festivities that All-Star weekend has to offer.
The process of how the starting rosters were selected for this year’s NBA All-Star game improved dramatically this year. The new format had fan votes counted as 50 percent, media members got 25 percent and the players got 25 percent as well.
This went away from the old format of letting fans have official control of the votes for 100 percent of the starting roster spots.
If the old format was still in effect, the outcome of this year’s Western conference starters would have had a player in the line up that isn’t an elite player in the NBA.
Golden State Warrior center Zaza Pachulia, who is a native and star of the Georgian national team would have been a starter for the Western conference if the old format was still in place.
According to TNT, Pachulia finished second in the frontcourt voting polls with 1,528,941 fan votes and over half a million votes more than third-place-finisher Kawhi Leonard.
When all 324 player ballots were cast for who they believed should be All-Stars, the numbers served justice on who knows what players should be starting. The NBA released the player ballots and Pachulia finished 12th in voting where he received only 19 votes.
However, fans shouldn’t have the opportunity to send just anyone to a game where it is meant for the best players in the sport to square off.
For example, Pachulia is averaging 18.8 minutes, 5.9 points and six rebounds per game.
I understand that fans of his native country want their natural-born son on one of the biggest stages in the world, but voters must have the common sense to remember that an All-Star game is for the best athletes in the sport at their position, and Pachulia is not even close to being one.
He is on one of the best teams in the NBA currently, but he has no effect on that roster because it is so star-studded with players who are going to be first-ballot Hall of Famers.
The NBA rosters have a maximum limit of 12 spots available for each conference in the All-Star game, so the chances of being named to a roster is slim to none for most players in basketball.
The NHL let the fans choose one overall player from each division to be a captain and the remaining 10 players for each divisional roster would be chosen by operating officials in the league.
The NFL thankfully went back to the old format of old AFC vs. NFC format and the players played on their perspective conference with the fellow players who were the best during the season.
It was a good sign to see that the NBA took the time to change up the way voting is done this year.
Even though the actual game will have no defense whatsoever and just be an extended dunk contest from the night before, the fans are still getting what they want to pay and watch.
All of the major sports should stick to one voting system for the All-Star games and that is should just be 50 percent of votes counting towards starting lineups like the NBA did.