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NBA All-Star starter snubs: Who should have made it?


USA TODAY Sports' Jeff Zillgitt talks to Lakers about Dwight Howard competing in the dunk contest. USA TODAY

All-Star voting is generally a fraught process. No matter the sport, someone is always going to be left unhappy by the results.

So it was for the NBA All-Star Game starters that were announced Thursday night. For every no-brainer pick like LeBron James or Giannis Antetokounmpo, there's an equally deserving player who gets left off.

The NBA has made efforts in recent years to minimize the chances of an undeserving player being voted a starter. Starters are determined by a weighted formula that includes fan, player and media voting. Fan voting accounts for 50% of the formula, and player and media voting accounts for 25% each.

While each player voted a starter for this year's game in Chicago has the statistics to merit his inclusion, there are a handful of players who can make the case they should be starting Feb. 16 in the Windy City.

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Jimmy Butler, Heat

The new Miami star appears to have the strongest case of anyone left out of the starting lineups. Butler is averaging 20.3 points to go with career-highs of 7.0 rebounds and 6.5 assists while spearheading a Heat squad that's second in the Eastern Conference. Butler was fourth in overall East frontcourt voting, but not being eligible in the backcourt might have hindered his chances.

Ben Simmons, 76ers

His long-range shooting has been a topic of much hand-wringing this season, but everything else Simmons does on the floor gives him a case to be a starter. Simmons is averaging 16.0 points, 8.5 assists and 7.8 rebounds on career-high 57.8% shooting, while playing All-NBA caliber defense. He finished in a tie for sixth among East backcourt players.

Nikola Jokic, Nuggets

Competition was fierce in the West frontcourt. Jokic was fourth in overall West frontcourt voting behind starters LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Kawhi Leonard. Jokic certainly has the numbers: 19.4 points, 10.0 rebounds and 6.4 assists on 50.9% shooting. His availability might be the bigger mark in his favor: He's played in all 44 of Denver's games, while Leonard has played 34.

Bradley Beal, Wizards

Beal's numbers are stellar: Career-highs of 27.5 points (sixth in the NBA) and 6.3 assists on 44.5% shooting. Washington's poor record, though, might have prevented Beal from breaking through in fan voting, where he was ninth among East backcourt players. Trae Young's Hawks are even worse, but Young's numbers — 29.2 points (third in the NBA) and 8.6 assists (fourth in the NBA) — transcend Atlanta's record.

Follow Matt Eppers on Twitter @meppers_.

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Source: NBA All-Star starter snubs: Who should have made it?

2020 NBA All-Star Game starters: Tacko Fall among most unbelievable names to receive votes from fellow players


A while back the NBA decided that in order to get a more accurate representation of deserving players in the All-Star Game, they should weaken the power of the fan vote, and allow both media and players to submit votes to determine starters. Now it's the players whose power should perhaps be weakened, as it has be come an annual tradition to point and laugh at the absurd names that players pencil in for the All-Star Game.

This year is no different, as the 2020 NBA All-Star starters were announced on Thursday, with LeBron James and Giannis Antekounmpo being named captains by virtue of earning the most votes. The starters themselves were more than worthy, with the only slight controversy coming with the selection of Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young, but when we dig deep into the vote we see that the players are being just as ridiculous as they have been in previous years.

For example, Kevin Durant -- who has played exactly zero games this season after signing with the Brooklyn Nets this summer -- received five votes. Yep, that's what we're dealing with. Here's a selection of some of the most surprising names to receive votes from fellow players and/or themselves.

Injured/inactive players receiving votes:

Players receiving multiple votes:

  • Tacko Fall, Boston Celtics (7)
  • Thanasis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks (6) -- maybe they thought it was Giannis?
  • Kostas Antetokounmpo, Los Angeles Lakers (6) -- at least they were equal ...
  • Khem Birch, Orlando Magic (4)
  • JJ Barea, Dallas Mavericks (3)
  • Jarrell Brantley, Utah Jazz (3)  
  • Boban Marjanovic, Dallas Mavericks (2)
  • Jared Dudley, Los Angeles Lakers (2)
  • Grant Williams, Boston Celtics (2)
  • Sekou Doumbouya, Detroit Pistons (2)
  • Cristiano Felicio, Chicago Bulls (2)
  • Nicolas Claxton, Brooklyn Nets (2)
  • Isaac Bonga, Washington Wizards (2)
  • Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Brooklyn Nets (2)
  • Jordan Bone, Detroit Pistons (2)
  • Georges Niang, Utah Jazz (2)
  • Tony Bradley, Utah Jazz (2)
  • Bruno Caboclo, Memphis Grizzlies (2)
  • Chimezie Metu, San Antonio Spurs (2)
  • Ryan Broekhoff, Dallas Mavericks (2)
  • Grayson Allen, Memphis Grizzlies (2)
  • Miye Oni, Utah Jazz (2)
  • Players receiving one vote (aka players who definitely voted for themselves):

  • Ryan Arcidiacono, Chicago Bulls
  • Kadeem Allen, New York Knicks
  • Marial Shayok, Philadelphia 76ers
  • Shake Milton, Philadelphia 76ers
  • Kobi Simmons, Charlotte Hornets
  • Luguentz Dort, Oklahoma City Thunder
  • Deonte Burton, Oklahoma City Thunder
  • Justin Wright-Foreman, Utah Jazz
  • Derrick Walton Jr., Los Angeles Clippers
  • Jared Harper, Phoenix Suns
  • PJ Dozier, Denver Nuggets
  • Jordan McLaughlin, Minnesota Timberwolves
  • Ignas Brazdeikis, New York Knicks
  • Christian Wood, Detroit Pistons
  • Norvel Pelle, Philadelphis 76ers
  • Jonah Bolden, Philadelphia 76ers
  • TJ Leaf, Indiana Pacers
  • KZ Okpala, Miami Heat
  • Amile Jefferson, Orlando Magic
  • Alen Smailagic, Golden State Warriors
  • Jordan Bell, Minnesota Timberwolves
  • Juwan Morgan, Utah Jazz
  • Jarred Vanderbilt, Denver Nuggets
  • Drew Eubanks, San Antonio Spurs
  • Johnathan Motley, Los Angeles Clippers
  • Zylan Cheatham, New Orleans Pelicans
  • The All-Star Game has been much improved over the last couple of seasons thanks to the new captain-style team selection, so it's probably not time to voice too much concern. But sooner or later, if the players don't start taking this seriously, it's going to become an issue.


    Source: 2020 NBA All-Star Game starters: Tacko Fall among most unbelievable names to receive votes from fellow players

    NBA All-Star starters announced: LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo captains again


    USA TODAY Sports' Jeff Zillgitt talks to Lakers about Dwight Howard competing in the dunk contest. USA TODAY

    The votes have all been cast, and the ballots have been counted. The results are in: LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo are NBA All-Star captains for the second year in a row.

    James and Antetokounmpo were announced as captains Thursday night for the 69th NBA All-Star Game in Chicago after leading their respective conferences in fan voting. The pair will pick teams from among the rest of the All-Star participants.

    The other eight starters were also announced Thursday. After James, the rest of the starters from the Western Conference are his Los Angeles Lakers teammate Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard, Houston Rockets guard James Harden and Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic.

    Joining Antetokounmpo as starters from the Eastern Conference are Boston Celtics guard Kemba Walker, Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young, Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam and Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid.

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    Final NBA All-Star fan voting results.

    Final NBA All-Star fan voting results. (Photo: NBA)

    James is a starter for a record 16th time. His 16 appearances are third-most in history behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's 19 and Kobe Bryant's 18. James' 16 selections are also more than the East starters combined (13).

    James was the overall leader in fan votes with 6,275,459. He has been a captain all three years the league has used the current format. James edged Doncic for the top spot by about 163,000 votes. Antetokounmpo dominated voting in the East with 5,902,286 votes, nearly twice as many as second-place Embiid's 3,110,185.

    Three starters will be making their first career All-Star appearances: Doncic, Young and Siakam. Doncic, 20, and Young, 21, give the NBA two All-Star starters age 21 or younger for just the second time ever. The only other time was 1998, when Bryant, 19, and Kevin Garnett, 21, started.

    Starters are determined through a combination of fan, player and media votes. Fan voting accounts for 50% of the formula, and player and media voting accounts for 25% each.

    All-Star reserves chosen by the coaches from each conference will be announced next Thursday. The draft will then take place on Feb. 6, with James and Antetokounmpo first choosing among the starters, followed by reserves. The All-Star Game is Feb. 16 at the United Center in Chicago.

    Follow Matt Eppers on Twitter @meppers_.

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    Source: NBA All-Star starters announced: LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo captains again



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