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NBA Chicago Bulls Dwyane Wade

Wade And Pachulia Show Why Fans Can’t Be Trusted With The All-Star Vote

The NBA All-Star second update of fan voting for the 2017 All-Star Game has been released showing why, once again, you can get some pretty strange results when a league puts its faith in social media and its fans.

The Bulls Dwyane Wade, 19th in Eastern Conference scoring at 18.7 points per game on a 9th place team, leads the Raptors DeMar DeRozan, 1st in Eastern Conference scoring at 28.2 points per game on a 2nd place team, by over 60,000 votes on January 12th. Maybe fans think they’re voting for the Wade of 2008-09 when he led the East in scoring or the Wade on those Heat teams that went to the NBA Finals in recent years? They must be confused. There are a lot of guards better than the 35-year-old that Wade is now. Isaiah Thomas, tied for the lead in scoring with DeRozan, is over 110,000 votes behind the former star. Why not just put M.J. on the ballot if voting for nostalgia is the way to go?

It’s great to get behind “your guy,” but Zaza Pachulia is averaging 5.5 points in 18.4 minutes on the Warriors and by rights, shouldn’t even show up in the top-10. Zaza has 823,376 votes and leads an actual star center, Marc Gasol, by over 650,000 votes. This isn’t funny.

All-Star Voting as of January 12th

Wade’s lead over DeRozan is not insurmountable, if the Raptors fans make a concerted effort. They managed to overcome a deficit of about twice that size to get Kyle Lowry voted in last year.

It seems very unlikely Pachulia will finish out of the top three in fan voting for the Western Conference frontcourt. It will be up to the players and the media panel, who combined hold 50 percent of the vote this year, to make sure an actual star player represents the West in the starting unit.

 

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

 

 

 

 

Raptors Lowry And DeRozan Need More Fans In All-Star Voting

The initial fan All-Star voting returns are in and just like last year, Eastern Conference guards DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry are out of the top two in the preliminary returns. (Results as of January 5th below).

All-Star voting

 

Last year Kyle Lowry became just the third player in Toronto Raptors team history to be voted an NBA All-Star starter when he finished second among Eastern Conference guards in fan balloting with 646,441 votes. But, it took a late rally by the Raptors fans to overcome a deficit of more than 30,000 votes to help Lowry get in. (see NBA All-Star fan voting in 2016 below)

To-date the Raptors have spent the entire voting period on a western conference road trip while the Air Canada Centre was taken over for the 2017 IIHF World Junior Ice Hockey Championships, so basketball hasn’t been uppermost on Canadian’s minds. However, that is all about to change with the Raptors at home for 5 of the next 6 games.

It is going to take another big push by the local fanbase to get one of the Raptors guards into the top two of fan voting for Eastern Conference guards. However, winning the fan vote isn’t the only deciding factor this year. The fan vote counts for 50% with the other half split between a media panel and NBA players, but it’s unlikely a player outside of the top five in the fan vote has a chance.

The next fan voting update is Thursday, January 12th and voting ends on Monday, January 16th at 11:59 p.m. E.T.

Voting is easy. NBA fans may submit one full ballot each day through Twitter and Facebook using the player’s first and last name with #NBAVOTE, NBA.com, the NBA App and Google Search, as well as via Sina Weibo and Tencent Microblogs in China.

The 2017 All-Star Starters will be announced live on TNT on Thursday, January 19th during a special one-hour edition of TNT NBA Tip-Off at 7 p.m. E.T.

 

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

 

 

 

 

NBA Cleveland Cavaliers LeBron James

2017 NBA Eastern Conference All-Star Voting Guide

Voting for the NBA All-Star starters has changed for 2017, the fan vote only counts for 50 percent with the players and a media panel accounting for the other half. However, that’s still a huge fan impact that a player who can’t attract fan support isn’t likely to overcome, so the following is a guide to what happened in 2016 and who is deserving this year.

Complaints about who gets the nod as an All-Star starter aren’t likely to diminish under the new system this year either. As usual, there are more than five players in a conference worthy of starting.

Here are the top fan vote-getters from a year ago (via Basketball-Reference.com).

Guards

 

Forwards

In 2016, Dwyane Wade was second in scoring among the East’s shooting guards at 19 points per game, trailing DeMar DeRozan (23.5). Kyle Lowry was second in scoring among point guards at 21.2 points per game trailing Isaiah Thomas (22.2), so the fans didn’t do a bad job here.

Lebron James led the East in scoring (25.3), Paul George was second among the forwards (23.1), and Carmelo Anthony was third among forwards (21.8). In fact, the fans voted in four of the Eastern Conference’s top six scorers in 2016, so there shouldn’t have been that much of a push to change the system for selecting All-Star starters based on last year’s results in the East. Besides, it’s on the coaches to pick up the obvious snubs when selecting the All-Star reserves (Isaiah Thomas, DeMar DeRozan).

This year scoring is up and scoring will remain a strong indicator of who gets voted/selected/picked to be an NBA All-Star and the names doing well in the East may seem rather familiar. (Stats as of December 26th, 2016 from ESPN.com)

Point Guards

Shooting Guards

Small Forwards

Power Forwards

Centers

Note that rebounding is given greater prominence with the centers and Boston’s Al Horford with 15.7 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 2.1 blocks doesn’t fit in easily with the power forwards or the centers (right where he’s been his whole career.)

The voting is for two guards and three forwards/centers.

Starting Guards

It’s completely possible fans continue for vote for the memories of Wade (2016 East’s leading guard vote-getter) even though there should be half-a-dozen players ahead of him this year. It shouldn’t even come as a shock if Wade still gets the respect of the players and media based on his career despite playing on what’s currently a sub-.500 team.

DeRozan leads the East in scoring on the second place team in the conference, so he should get voted in. However, in Toronto the consensus remains that Lowry is the team’s best player and he’ll likely lead the pair in fan votes.

If winning is taken into account, there is a widening gap between Cleveland, Toronto and the rest of the East. A three-way battle between DeRozan, Lowry and Kyrie Irving to start at guard should be in the cards, the on-going strong name-recognition of Wade notwithstanding.

Look for Isaiah Thomas to garner more fan votes than last year and it’s about time Kemba Walker got a little more recognition. Jimmy Butler, fourth in fan voting as a guard in 2016, plays for those same sub.-500 Bulls as Wade and that isn’t going to help his stock improve from last year (at guard or forward).

Starting Forwards/Centers

Last year only LeBron James of the first place Cavaliers earned the support of the fans, but it would be a surprise if Kevin Love doesn’t see a significant surge in fan support this time around and get voted in as well.

There may be only one spot that is really up for grabs among the forwards and centers and it should be hotly contested.

Carmelo Anthony, voted in last year, is usually a sure-thing with the fans, but this year his teammate ‘The Unicorn’ Kristaps Porzingis is more popular and should easily draw greater fan support. Porzingis trailed Anthony by less than a 100,000 votes in 2016. The obvious media favorite and rising star Giannis Antetokounmpo could challenge Porzingis for a starting role, if only he played for a team more fans followed.

Paul George, second in frontcourt votes last year, has the talent to be a starter, but his team is flirting with the Lottery and his scoring is down 1.7 points from last season. There’s no buzz around George this year and that is going to make votes harder to get with new fresh faces coming onto the scene.

Ever since centers got lumped in with the forwards, this position has gotten shafted in All-Star voting and that isn’t likely to change this year.

Fan voting updates will be shared by the NBA on Thursday, January 5th and Thursday, January 12th and these updates matter. If a popular player is close to being voted in, their team’s fanbase is easily motivated to get behind their guy and push him over the top.

It also doesn’t hurt if a player and his team can get hot at the right time. Fans don’t like to vote for losers, this is no time to go cold.

Voting is easy. NBA fans may submit one full ballot each day through Twitter, Facebook, NBA.com, the NBA App and Google Search, as well as via Sina Weibo and Tencent Microblogs in China.  All current NBA players are eligible. Voting ends on Monday, January 16th at 11:59 p.m. E.T.

 

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

 

 

 

 

NBA Toronto Raptors DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry

2017 NBA All-Star Voting Starts Christmas Day #NBAVOTE

NBA fans can start voting on Christmas Day for their favorite NBA players to start in the All-Star Game to be held Sunday, Feb. 19th, 2017 at the Smoothie King Center, home of the New Orleans Pelicans.

NBA fans may submit one full ballot each day through Twitter, Facebook, NBA.com, the NBA App and Google Search, as well as via Sina Weibo and Tencent Microblogs in China.  All current NBA players will be available for selection.

NBA All-Star Voting tips off at 11 a.m. E.T. on Sunday, December 25th

Voting ends on Monday, January 16th at 11:59 p.m. E.T.

How to vote:

  • Twitter: Tweet, retweet or reply with an NBA player’s first and last name or Twitter handle, along with the hashtag #NBAVOTE.  Each Tweet may include only one player’s name or handle.  Fans may vote for 10 unique players each day throughout the NBA All-Star voting period.
  • Facebook: Post the player’s first and last name along with the hashtag #NBAVOTE on your personal Facebook account, or comment on another’s Facebook post.   Each post may include only one player’s name.  Fans may post votes for 10 unique players per day throughout the voting period.
  • NBA.com voting page at NBA.com/vote: Fill out one full ballot per day (per day is defined as once every 24 hours) on NBA.com/vote from a desktop or mobile browser.  Fans can select up to two guards and three frontcourt players from each conference when choosing starters.
  • NBA App: Access the ballot and vote through the app, which is available on Android and iOS.  Fans can fill out one full ballot per day, and select up to two guards and three frontcourt players from each conference when choosing starters.
  • Google Search: Search “NBA Vote All-Star” or “NBA Vote Team Name” (ex: NBA Vote Celtics), and use respective voting cards to select teams and then players.  Fans may submit votes for 10 unique players per day throughout the voting period.

Fan voting updates will be shared on Thursday, January 5th and Thursday, January 12th.

For the first time ever, NBA players and basketball media will join fans in selecting the starters. Fans will account for 50 percent of the vote, while all current players and a panel of basketball media will account for 25 percent each. Players and media will be able to complete one full ballot, featuring three frontcourt players and two guards from both the Eastern and Western Conference.  Players may vote for their teammates or themselves.

The 2017 All-Star Starters will be announced live on TNT on Thursday, January 19th during a special one-hour edition of TNT NBA Tip-Off at 7 p.m. E.T. immediately prior to the TNT doubleheader featuring the Washington Wizards at the New York Knicks (8 p.m. ET) and the Minnesota Timberwolves at the LA Clippers (10:30 p.m. ET).

The Eastern Conference and Western Conference All-Star reserves, as selected by NBA head coaches, will be announced the following week on Thursday, January 26th.

The voting period is SHORT and starts when many people are thinking about the HOLIDAYS, so follow the rules, vote early and often, and vote on as many eligible platforms as you can. Your favorite players All-Star chances still rest largely in your hands.

Read the NBA official release here

 

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

 

 

 

 

NBA Adam Silver - web

NBA Stands Up For Tolerance In America

Taking a brave stand for tolerance, the NBA has announced the 2017 All-Star Game has been moved from Charlotte to New Orleans.

Press Release

New Orleans has been selected to host NBA All-Star 2017, the NBA announced today. The 66th NBA All-Star Game will be played on Sunday, Feb. 19, at Smoothie King Center – home of the New Orleans Pelicans. The game was previously scheduled to be held in Charlotte, N.C.

In addition to the game, the Smoothie King Center will host the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge on Friday, Feb. 17 and State Farm All-Star Saturday Night on Saturday, Feb. 18 while the NBA All-Star Practice, NBA All-Star Celebrity Game and NBA Development League All-Star Game presented by Kumho Tire will take place at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. This will mark the third time the “Crescent City” has been the site of the league’s annual midseason celebration, having previously hosted the event in 2008 and 2014.

“New Orleans is a world-class destination for sports and entertainment and we are very appreciative that the city is once again hosting our All-Star festivities,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. “We are grateful to Tom and Gayle Benson and the Pelicans organization and to Governor John Bel Edwards, Mayor Mitch Landrieu and the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation for inviting us back for what promises to be another exciting and memorable celebration of the game.”

“We are grateful that the NBA has selected us to host the 2017 NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans,” said New Orleans Pelicans Owner Tom Benson. “We have made tremendous upgrades to the Smoothie King Center and know the building will be a first-class venue to host the myriad of events associated with All-Star weekend. New Orleans has hosted the All-Star Game twice in the past nine years, and is a perfect destination for NBA fans. As we know, the NBA will engage thousands of local children and charities during this weekend. On behalf of my wife Gayle and the entire Pelicans organization, we thank Governor Edwards, Mayor Landrieu, the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau, SMG, and all of the others that worked so hard in a short amount of time to bring the All-Star Game to New Orleans.”

In addition, in the wake of the devastating floods that have affected tens of thousands of Louisiana residents, the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) have joined the Pelicans and the New Orleans Saints to provide financial and other ongoing support of the flood rescue, relief and rebuilding efforts.

NBA All-Star oncourt festivities tip off Friday, Feb. 17, with the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge, where the league’s top rookies and second-year players will compete in a U.S. versus World game format for the third consecutive year. On Saturday, Feb. 18, State Farm All-Star Saturday Night will feature current NBA players showcasing their unique abilities in exciting basketball competitions, including the Taco Bell Skills Challenge, where participants compete head-to-head in a series of passing, shooting and agility drills; the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest; and Verizon Slam Dunk. The weekend concludes on Sunday, Feb. 19, with the NBA All-Star Game.

“Even in the midst of a historic crisis, I am excited that the NBA has recognized how great the City of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana are,” said Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards. “In Louisiana, one of the strongest bonds that unites all of us is our passion for sports. Not only will NBA fans be able to participate in the All-Star Game events, they will also be a part of our world-famous Mardi Gras festivities. The fan experience can’t get any better than that. While we move into the recovery phase of this disaster, I want to thank the NBA for the vote of confidence in our state to host this event and their support of the relief efforts currently underway. I want to congratulate Mayor Landrieu, the City of New Orleans, and the Pelicans for working in short order to make this all possible.”

“The NBA has been a great partner, so we are excited and honored to be selected to host the 2017 NBA All-Star Game,” said New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “Together with the staff of the GNO Sports Foundation and the hospitality industry, the dedicated members of the New Orleans police, fire, EMS, airport, permitting and sanitation departments, among others, make these major events possible. The combination of NBA All-Star with the first weekend of Mardi Gras will provide our residents, visitors and NBA fans an even more special experience. Having served as Lieutenant Governor and Mayor for the two prior NBA All-Star Games held in New Orleans, I also know the NBA is committed to giving back to our community and providing great learning experiences for our kids. The NBA and the Players Association’s generous donations to organizations responding to the devastating flooding across Louisiana is a testament to their commitment to the people of our state.”

“The Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation is honored to partner with Tom and Gayle Benson and the Pelicans as the All-Star Host Committee for an unprecedented third time in the past 10 years,” said President/CEO of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation Jay Cicero. “The strong relationships with our sports, governmental and hospitality communities allowed for a customary eight-month bid process to be compressed into a mere three weeks. The 2014 All-Star Game generated over $100 million in economic impact for the State of Louisiana and the greater New Orleans area. It’s a thrill to welcome our NBA partners back to New Orleans.”

“The NBA and New Orleans have a history of producing world-class sporting events, having most recently hosted the All-Star Game in 2014. When we learned that we had an opportunity to host next year’s NBA All-Star Game, we went straight to work to lay the groundwork for 2017,” said President and CEO of New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau Stephen Perry. “Our tourism industry is second-to-none at planning and accommodating massive events like this. Within three weeks, we were able to ensure the NBA that all the pieces were in place to make the 2017 NBA All-Star Game an unforgettable experience that will combine our world famous Mardi Gras with all the excitement that the NBA All-Star Game delivers.”

The NBA will continue to honor its commitment to social responsibility during All-Star 2017 with a full schedule of NBA Cares and Jr. NBA events in and around New Orleans throughout the week. By working with local schools, government agencies and nonprofits, the NBA will engage thousands of children and families and provide important resources to community-based programs.

The 2017 NBA All-Star Game will be televised in prime time on TNT for the 15th consecutive year, marking Turner Sports’ 32nd year of NBA All-Star coverage. The game will be broadcast worldwide in 215 countries and territories in 49 languages.

NBA ALL-STAR HISTORY IN NEW ORLEANS

New Orleans last hosted NBA All-Star in 2014, when the Eastern Conference overcame an 18-point deficit to post a 163-155 victory, snapping a three-game losing streak. Kyrie Irving scored 15 of his team-high 31 points in the fourth quarter and handed out a game-high 14 assists on his way to capturing MVP honors. Carmelo Anthony added 30 points for the East, while Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin each finished with 38 points for the West.

The 2008 NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans marked the city’s first major sporting event since Hurricane Katrina. In addition to the East’s 134-128 victory and LeBron James’ MVP performance, more than 2,500 members of the NBA family participated in 10 local service projects across New Orleans as part of the inaugural NBA Cares All-Star Day of Service, now an annual tradition and a highlight of the league’s All-Star festivities.