The NBA announced the 2017 All-star Game Starters tonight. As expected, the Portland Trail Blazers were not represented.
The starters for the Western Conference will be:
- Stephen Curry (Warriors)
- James Harden (Rockets)
- Anthony Davis (Pelicans)
- Kevin Durant (Warriors)
- Kawhi Leonard (Spurs)
The starters for the Eastern Conference will be:
- DeMar DeRozan (Raptors)
- Kyrie Irving (Cavaliers)
- Lebron James (Cavaliers)
- Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks)
- Jimmy Butler (Bulls)
For the East, Antetokounmpo will be making his first All-Star appearance, and Butler will be a first time starter. For the West, this is Harden’s first starting appearance. The Thunder’s Russell Westbrook was the most notable snub. Westbrook tied Harden and Curry, but was edged out by the tiebreaker of fan vote.
In a change from previous years, fan voting did not exclusively control starter selection. Instead, the NBA used a combination of fan, media, and player input to make the selection. The fan vote was worth 50%, player vote worth 25%, and media vote worth 25%.
The Western Conference backcourt voting breakdown went as follows (click through for other positions):
Blazers Guards Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum finished no. 6 and no. 8, respectively, in the final voting - a boost from their no. 8 and no. 16 positions in the fan vote. Lillard or McCollum can still be selected to the team as a reserve by the Western Conference coaches, although their chances may be slim. All-Star reserves will be announced on TNT on January 26. Lillard has appeared in two prior all-star games. The coaches selected him in 2014, and Adam Silver named him as an injury replacement in 2015.
Frustratingly for the league, the players may not have taken the vote completely seriously, and many didn’t even bother to cast a ballot:
The player turnout for All-Star voting could have been better. A decent amount did not submit a ballot, I'm told.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) January 19, 2017
The move to a combined fan/player/media vote was made after Zaza Pachulia nearly scored a starting spot last season thanks to an impassioned campaign from his home country of Georgia. Indeed, Pachulia would have been a starter this year under the old criteria:
2017 NBA All-Star Game: West leaders in fan vote: 1.Stephen Curry 2. James Harden 3. Kevin Durant 4.Russell Westbrook 5. Zaza Pachulia pic.twitter.com/kaCQt3F3US— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) January 20, 2017
Dwyane Wade and Joel Embiid also would have been starters using fan vote exclusively:
2017 NBA All-Star Game: East leaders in fan vote: 1. LeBron James, 2. Kyrie Irving, 3. Giannis Antetokounmpo 4. Dwyane Wade 5. Joel Embiid pic.twitter.com/daCGWNDwfn— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) January 20, 2017
LaMarcus Aldridge (2015) was the last Blazer to start an all-star game, but was selected as an injury replacement by Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr. Clyde Drexler (1994) was the last Blazer to be voted in as a starter.