Nothing gets NBA fans quite as riled up as the fan-voting for the starters of the NBA All-Star Game. The 2014 voting is certainly no different as the starters were announced on Thursday. Immediately people began questioning some of the selections and calling out the potential snubs from the starting lineup.
There’s already talk going on about the fact that both Roy Hibbert and Dwight Howard were left out of the starting lineups, leaving no centers for either starting lineup. Moreover, there have been (rightful) complaints about Kobe Bryant being named a starter out West despite playing only six games this season. However, one of the biggest comments, even from some of my colleagues, has been that John Wall deserved a starting backcourt nod over Kyrie Irving.
Looking at the two players’ production side-by-side, their numbers are quite similar. Irving’s 21.7 points and 6.1 assists per game on 43 percent shooting is pretty even with Wall’s 20.2 points and 8.5 assists per game on 42.5 percent shooting. If you wanted to bring up Wall’s Washington Wizards having more success than Irving’s Cleveland Cavaliers, it’s hard to argue that point.
Personally, I don’t have an issue with Irving getting the starting spot over Wall. With their production being so similar, I’m not in a place to fault fans for wanting to have a high-profile and entertaining player starting in the game. What’s problematic to me, though, is the discrepancy between the two players in terms of voting totals.
While Irving finished second among Eastern Conference guards with 860,221 votes, Wall finished third. However, Wall finished with a mere 393,129 votes. For players that have both played at a high level this season, that’s way too big of a gap between the two in the voting. Essentially, Wall isn’t getting the respect that he deserves from the fans, in All-Star voting at least.
You can plead and whine about Wall not making the All-Star team all you want, but it’s not going to change and Irving starting certainly isn’t a mockery of the game. However, Wall indeed deserves a little more credit than he was given by voters in this instance.