Are the Thunder going to be represented at this year's All-Star game?
Kevin Durant has been a starter in the All-Star game for the past 4 years. He has had the 2nd highest number of votes for 3 out of the last 4 years, with last year being the exception, when he received the most votes out of the entire Western Conference.
KD is the reigning MVP of the league. He won't be in the starting lineup come All-Star weekend (Kobe Bryant, Stephen Curry, Marc Gasol, Anthony Davis, and Blake Griffin were voted in as starters). Since 2000, only 2 other player have won the MVP and then not started the following year. Those are Steve Nash in 2006 and Dirk Nowitzski in 2007, but both were victim of the old All-Star format where it was based off specific position unlike today where you vote in the front court and the back court.
The process to vote for players to start the All-Star game is still flawed, in my opinion. It is a popularity contest as 100% is from fan voting. I believe this could be corrected if fans only had a percentage of the vote. This explains how someone like Kobe Bryant could be voted in a starter over Kevin Durant. Mamba and KD are both well respected worldwide; however there respected markets are not similar at all. Kobe has always received a high number of votes based on his global market. Kobe also receives a high number of the older generation's votes for still being able to compete at this stage of his career.
Kevin Durant without a doubt got snubbed. He is shooting the best field goal percentage of his career, best 3 point percentage of his career at 40%, and is also fouling at the lowest rate of his career at 1.52. KD is doing all of this while playing nearly identical minutes to Kobe. It is no secret that KD has missed his fair share of games where he has been plagued with injuries but it is also hard to deny that he belongs since he returned his team went 7-1 before he was injured again vs the Warriors. It's also worth noting that at that point the Oklahoma City Thunder had gone 5-12 on the season...while the Lakers are statistically playing better with Kobe on the bench rather than the court. It is still possible KD could start with Kobe being ruled out due to a torn rotator cuff, however it shouldn't come down to an injury being the reason he is starting.
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban adds that it isn't only about the wrong guys getting voted in, but rather that the low number of total votes indicates a broken system, as indicated by Curry's 1.5 million votes, which he argues is low:
"In context of everything, that's no votes," Cuban said. "That's such a small number considering all the different options you have to vote that it's almost embarrassing. It's just no one's really looked at it that way. ... I mean, think about it. Of all the people who go to games, all the people who watch games globally, to have [1.5] million means that system's broken. Absolutely, positively broken."
"They go hand in hand," Cuban said. "We have that few votes, you're going to get one team or one player or one part of the world that skews everything. Again, if we were getting 20, 30, 50 million votes, which shows that fans just love it and wanted to participate, that'd be one thing. Then the fans have spoken.
"But when the number of voters isn't enough to even get anybody to notice ... That means basically .01 percent of NBA fans cared enough to vote, and that's saying every fan voted just once. Probably, if you include global, that means .00001 percent of fans thought enough to vote. That just shows nobody cares."
"Nobody even tried to hack it," Cuban said. "That's how bored they are. So, yeah, I think it's time to do away with it because we're just not getting the response that matters. I don't know how votes have trended in terms of numbers versus past years, but it's obviously not something that fans really care about, given the numbers of votes. And if they don't care about it, we shouldn't do it. We should find a better way."
Thunder fans should not be overly concerned with this turn of events, as KD himself said, "I don't need the all-star vote to validate me as a player. I'm always motivated. This is my eighth year in the league. I've been on All-Star teams before. I've done things in this league. I don't need that to validate me." Now let's hope KD takes the snub as motivation to start the 2nd half of this weird season and prove to the fans that they made a mistake not placing the reigning MVP as a starter in the stacked West.
I'm Dustin Howell, the newest member of Welcome to Loud City. I live in Bethany, Oklahoma with my wife and our 2 dogs. I'm am very excited to get to share with you all my insight and my opinions on one of the most interesting teams in the NBA. I hope you all will enjoy what i have to bring and I can't wait to interact with you all. You can find me on Twitter @Dustinhowe11 and don't forget to THUNDERUP!