Jamal Crawford's All-Star Push Proves Game Is Just a Popularity Contest

Jesse DorseyFeatured ColumnistJanuary 21, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 30: Jamal Crawford #11 of the Los Angeles Clippers drives against Alec Burks #10 of the Utah Jazz at Staples Center on December 30, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The Clippers won 107-96.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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The fan voting for All-Star Games has been lambasted as long as it's been around, and now it looks as if the Los Angeles Clippers are attempting to turn the coach's choice for bench players into just as big a joke with their campaign for Jamal Crawford to make the All-Star Game.

Fans have been historically bad at picking the starters, and this year was no different. Dwight Howard made it in one of his most lackluster seasons, and point guards Jeremy Lin and Deron Williams were right on the cusp of breaking through.

However, the coaches are usually wise enough to put in the overlooked player who is playing exceptionally well, but isn't getting the hype because he plays in a smaller market.

Now the Clippers are trying to do the same thing to the reserves as the fans do to the starters—make it all a popularity contest.

#Clippers promoting Jamal Crawford for All-Star Game, sending this fact sheet to NBA coaches Saturday. yfrog.com/ob4qxdmj

— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) January 20, 2013

We've still got a bit of time before the reserves are announced, so the bit of integrity that is left in the All-Star Game is still alive, but with stunts like this, it's only a matter of time before every team is out promoting their most borderline players to make their way into the game.

I'm in no way trying to bash what Crawford has done with the Clippers this season. In fact, he's a clear-cut candidate to win the Sixth Man of the Year Award yet again, but an All-Star he is not.

The promotion that the Clippers sent out touts Crawford as a top-five player in the NBA as far as +/- is concerned, a top-five player in fourth-quarter scoring and a player with the most games scoring 20 or more points off the bench. 

All that is fine, and even impressive, but is that as impressive as some of the other guards who missed the starting cut in the Western Conference?

Has he transformed the mentality of a team while putting together one of the league's top scoring seasons like James Harden?

Will he be as instrumental to the success of his team as a guy like Tony Parker or Russell Westbrook?

Is there as much fire in his game as a sudden star player like Stephen Curry?

Hell, I would say there's a better argument to be made that Damian Lillard should be an All-Star reserve over Jamal Crawford, given the role he's played with the Portland Trail Blazers this season.

The point is that there are people out there who recognize that Crawford has done a great job coming off the bench for Los Angeles this season, and that's fine. But to go as far as to try to convince voters that a guy who is so obviously not deserving of an All-Star spot that he should be included is diluting the value of the game.

That being said, I'd love to see a one-on-one competition added to the weekend, and if Crawford were to be involved in any way, I would be absolutely stoked.