All-Star Voting Mayhem Continues
Allen Iverson’s and Tracy McGrady’s inclusions as possible ASG starters in seasons where they’ve barely even played is enough to make one rethink the process. Or maybe it isn’t.
When we last heard about the All-Star voting totals, there was a huge outcry about Tracy McGrady– who had yet to play in a game at that point– having enough votes to qualify as a starter. Since then, T-Mac has seen some court time (though not enough by his standards) and the general public seems to have come to its senses. Now that the latest totals have been released, McGrady has been passed by Steve Nash to temporarily claim the Western Conference’s starting guard spot next to Kobe Bryant. Crisis has been averted, at least for now.
Oh wait, did I mention that Allen Iverson is a starting guard in the Eastern Conference now?
Iverson has been one of the NBA’s most popular and polarizing players since he set foot in the league in 1996. He has played in 10 All-Star games– nine as a starter– so this isn’t a complete surprise. But a quick look at his season– bickering about being a reserve, a retirement, an unretirement, eight games played, 14 points and 4 assists per, and a stint on the injury list– suggests that perhaps the fans are making yet another mistake.
There have been calls for the NBA to alter its process for years and to lessen the impact of fan voting on All-Star inclusions. It is pretty clear that such an alteration will not happen, which means that being the best player in your conference will result in coming off the bench in a contest meant to showcase the league’s best talent. For instance, the best guard in the East other than Dwyane Wade, who is leading the EC voting at that position, is probably Joe Johnson. Johnson is leading an Atlanta team that is better than everyone thought it would be and putting up 21, 5 and 5 every night. He is seventh in the voting.
I’ve implored readers in the past to vote for someone undeserving to start in the ASG with the thought that starting Stephon Marbury next to the league’s superstars would force David Stern to rethink this whole thing. I have my doubts about whether that approach will work this season, with Iverson and McGrady still viewed as respectable in the eyes of most observers. Instead, maybe we should de-emphasize the importance of All-Star Game appearances when we talk about players’ careers. Because it should be about talent and not just popularity.