Let’s face it. The NBA All-Star game starters were announced last week and it was a huge let down. Allen Iverson made the team after despite forcing his way out of the Memphis Grizzlies. Kevin Garnett made the team despite missing games and being a shell of himself when he did play. Tracy McGrady almost made the team despite not even really playing at all. For what its worth, the only reason Yi Jianlian (the freaking role player on a three-win team) didn’t make it was because he was purposefully left off the ballot.
Basically, the casual NBA fan has for the most part no idea how to properly vote on those who deserve to be in the All-Star Game. Here are five ways to fix the NBA All-Star Game voting process:
1. Set a Numbers Standard:
Players with good name recognition will always get more votes than lesser-known guys with better stats. The best way to change that would be to the make the greatest offenders ineligible by putting in rules that state that a certain player must play a certain amount of games and accumulate a certain amount of stats.
The stat limits don’t even have to be high. Just say that you have to meet the minimum standards of at least one of the following stats: 15 points, eight rebounds, six assists, and two blocks, or steals. Doesn’t sound like too much, but those limits would have kept McGrady from almost starting for the West this year and would have avoided the embarrassment that it caused when Grant Hill, who hadn’t played all year made the All- Star team a few years back. This is probably the easiest and least controversial change.
2. Change the Positions:
Let’s face it: Point guards are gaining importance as a position and the center spot is losing it. With all the new rules in place that favor guard play and hamper big men (hand checking and zone defenses for example), why is the East starting two shooting guards and why is the West pretending Amar’e Stoudemire is a center (especially considering the starting power forward on the West—Tim Duncan—is a better center than Stoudemire anyway?) Besides, All-Star games are much better when there is a true point guard on the floor.
So, why not just change the positions that fans can vote on in order to acknowledge that the game has changed? Let’s have fans vote on one point guard, two swingmen, and two big men. That way only good centers are rewarded rather than the current situation where someone like Chris Kaman may sneak on. There will always be a true point guard voted in and the change isn’t so drastic that one team will be made up of completely different types of players than the other one.
3. Have Fan Voting Count Only for Part of the Selection:
This is the way the NFL handles the Pro Bowl. All fan votes only count for one-third of the roster while player votes and coach votes account for the other two. This allows fans to still vote for starters while covering up for their mistakes as well.
4. Take Away the Fan Vote:
Let’s be honest here. Fan voting doesn’t really make that much sense anymore. They keep messing up. 40 percent of the Eastern conference All-Star starters have no business receiving that honor, and the fans are directly to blame for this.
Plus, these days the vote has become international, which sounds great in theory, but in reality has resulted in all sorts of votes coming in for a player simply because because he plays with someone from their home country. Clearly, fans are no longer voting for players who are most deserving and as a result should lose their right to vote for at all.
5. Let Fans Vote on Different Roster Spots:
Alright, the above was pretty harsh, and it has no chance of happening. Still, what about a compromise? Let the players pick the starters, let the coaches pick the first five reserves, and let the fans vote for the final two players.
This allows fans not only to still be involved in the process, but even makes it more okay for them to pick guys who are perhaps not as deserving because at the end of the day it is still only for the last two roster spots on the team anyway.
Any of these solutions would be a step in the right direction. Make it happen David Stern!