Early NBA All-Star fan voting shows the same old biases

Results from the first round of fan voting for the NBA All-Star teams are loaded with questionable choices and evidence of frustrating bias.

Vote totals from the first two weeks of NBA All-Star voting have been released and there are very few surprises.

And that’s not a good thing.

In a season where a slew of young players are breaking out and shaking the hierarchy of the league, we should be hoping to see a lot more variety in the selections. I released my own early All-Star picks earlier today for both starters and reserves and included seven players who would be first-time selections.

But the results of the fan voting show the same old names at the top, along with some absurd names who have no business receiving votes.

Everyone loves the Warriors and Lakers on NBA All-Star ballots

Of the 20 players included for the Western Conference, 10 are from either the Lakers or Warriors. That includes players like Kevon Looney and Austin Reaves (solid role players but nowhere near All-Star level) as well as familiar veterans like Russell Westbrook, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green who are well off the levels of production they displayed in previous All-Star seasons.

None of those players realistically deserves an All-Star selection based on any combination of production and team success this season. Having them receive more votes than players like De’Aaron Fox, Anthony Edwards, Jerami Grant, Anthony Edwards and Keldon Johnson feels like a failure of imagination.

Eastern Conference NBA All-Star fan voting results are equally flawed

The East doesn’t suffer from the same over-concentration of specific teams but there are just as many problems. LaMelo Ball is among the top 10 vote-getters for guards despite having played just 15 games. Derrick Rose was included as well despite averaging just 5.8 points per game and mostly falling out of the Knicks rotation.

In the frontcourt, players like Nic Claxton and Jarrett Allen (both very good role players) were included ahead of players producing like borderline stars — Bam Adebayo, Kristaps Porzingis and Julius Randle.

To some degree, this is the point of fan voting, giving fans an opportunity to vote for who they want to see in the All-Star Game. Giving coaches and players 25 percent of the vote each balances out some of these fan biases. But the selections can’t simultaneously be held up as a mark of distinction for being one of the best players in the league and be open to any role player or fading star in a certain jersey.

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