The NBA announced this week that it will make changes to the way starters for the All-Star Game are determined, reducing the influence of the fan vote. Instead of being determined entirely by fans, as they have been since the 1974/75 season, All-Star starters will be voted in by fans (50%), players (25%), and coaches (25%).
The timing of the change is interesting — it comes a year after veteran center Zaza Pachulia was nearly voted into the game as a Western Conference starter due to a fan push, and it comes at a time when the NBA is in the process of finalizing a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Under the old CBA, players on rookie contracts could qualify for more lucrative contract extensions if they had been voted an All-Star starter, but the new CBA is doing away with that criteria for its designated player extensions. In other words, at a time when the NBA seems to be getting more serious about its All-Star Game voting, it’s now a little less critical for players to crack the starting lineup.
While fans certainly haven’t always picked the top five players in a given conference to start the game, All-Star weekend is essentially a series of exhibitions designed for the fans. It’s easy to make the case that fans should get to watch the players they want to see in the All-Star Game. There’s also no guarantee that the choices made by players and the media will be any better than those made by the fans. A handful of players have already talked about casting their ballots for their teammates, and Kyrie Irving is among the players who believes there may be some bias on the part of the media as well.
What do you think? Will the new All-Star voting rules help create stronger starting lineups for the game? Was it necessary to change the way All-Star starters are selected? If so, was there a more effective way to do it? Jump into the comments section below to share your thoughts!