The biggest controversy of this year’s NBA All-Star voting results was Dallas Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic getting in as a starter over MVP candidate Damian Lillard, which happened largely thanks to a fan vote that saw Doncic receive 3,335,042 votes to Lillard’s 2,848,663.
Lillard actually beat out Doncic according to the player vote (131 to 58 in Lillard’s favor) and in the media vote (64 to 30 for the Portland Trail Blazers star).
Naturally, this led to NBA fan voters catching a ton of flak for what many considered to be a poor decision on their behalf to vote Doncic in so heavily over Lillard. Even Doncic himself said he felt ‘maybe’ Lillard deserved to be an All-Star starter more than him:
Luka Doncic on All-Star voting results: “I didn’t expect that I was going to start this game. I know that maybe [Damian] Lillard deserved it more than me.”
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) February 20, 2021
However, although fans get a lot of criticisim for their All-Star voting (some of it deserved, in fairness), our research indicates that fans actually take the vote more seriously than NBA players do.
According to the numbers we found, players who were not among the five most used on their teams minutes-wise received 4.94 percent of the overall fan vote and 10.52 percent of the player All-Star vote.
Meanwhile, those same players got zero percent of the media vote. (Is it obvious whose job could be on the line based on questionable All-Star voting?)
That means players who were not starting for their respective teams were more likely to be voted as All-Star starters by their fellow peers than by fan voters.
Just in this year’s voting results, we can cite various eyebrow-raising examples of players not taking their vote seriously whatsoever.
How about Los Angeles Lakers swingman Kostas Antetokounmpo playing eight minutes all year and getting 10 votes from players to be an All-Star? That’s the same number John Wall got and one more than Bojan Bogdanovic, double-digit scorer for the best team in the league this year.
That’s not even the worst one, either.
Mamadi Diakite and Killian Tillie each got an All-Star vote from a player this season. Neither has made their NBA debut yet.
Jaren Jackson Jr. hasn’t played yet this campaign either and he got five votes. Milwaukee Bucks guard Jaylen Adams has scored two points in 18 total minutes of action. He got five votes as well.
That’s one more player vote apiece than Karl-Anthony Towns, who had just four votes from fellow players, got. Granted, he’s missed a lot of time this season, but the point remains the same.
Tacko Fall and his 49 minutes of action this campaign got three votes. KZ Okpala and his 2.2 points per game got the same amount. Cole Anthony and his sub-38 percent field-goal percentage got four votes.
At the end of the day, All-Star voting is a silly thing to get that worked up about, especially when all of the above examples are players just having fun with their buddies.
But an All-Star berth can earn players a lot of money based on endorsements or contract stipulations, so next time someone trashes NBA fans for the way they cast their All-Star vote, be sure to point out that players take it even less seriously than the aficionados do, and we have the numbers prove it.