Every year right around now, Ernie, Kenny, and Charles and the NBA on TNT crew debate the validity of the All Star starters. Each year, Charles and Kenny argue that All Star voting be taken out of the hands of fans, or at the very least weighted with votes from coaches (who now vote for the All Star bench) and players (who have no official votes – of course nothing stops them from going to NBA.com and voting daily). This year, the goat was Iverson. Iverson has had a mediocre year statistically and a Farveian melodrama when first joining Memphis, and then moving from Memphis to Phili. He was the major goat this year, when the Inside the NBA studio discussions begun. While the discussion is always well informed, energetic, and entertaining (did you SEE Howard’s Barkley impression? We got the goods here.), but ultimately, the honored experts are, to put it plainly, dead wrong. All Star voting is fine the way it is.
Simply put, the All Star Game, and All Star Weekend as a whole, is an event designed with the fans in mind. The fans can see their favorite NBA stars showing off their skills all weekend long, culminating in a game that features little defense and plenty of pizazz. It is, more than anything else, a marketing opportunity for the NBA. Look back to All Star Weekend in New Orleans, and what that did for the NBA’s image.
The question is then, how do we recognize who are truly the best players in the league, if fans are voting for their favorites, rather than the best or most effective players. There is already a mechanism for this. It’s the yearly All NBA Team selections (15 total players). Furthermore, who’s to say that players and coaches would always select the best players. Chris Webber, for example, left David Lee off his mock list of All Star bench players, because he “wanted to reward winning.” David Lee is 16th in win share in the league. So while the Knicks may not win as many games as the Celtics, Hawks, Magic, or Cavaliers, David Lee is arguably more of a win creator than Ray Allen, Al Horford, Rashard Lewis, or Shaquille O’Neal (whom jabbering tenor Avery Johnson wanted to have on the bench over Lee).
Instead of berating the fans for their stupidity, the experts should spend their time arguing for the yearly All Team selections to be expanded to 30 players.