NBA All-Star Starters Announced, Controversy Over Selections

The 71st edition of the NBA All-Star game is set for play in Cleveland, Ohio, on Feb. 20.

Lakers, and former Cleveland Cavaliers prodigy, LeBron James, captains the Western Conference. Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant captains the Eastern Conference. Durant is a twelve-time all-star and James has just tied fellow Laker legend Kobe Bryant with 18 appearances.

The Full Player Pool

Joining the Western Conference roster is the 2021 MVP Nikola Jokic (Utah Jazz), eight-time All-Star Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors), Ja Morant (Memphis Grizzlies) and Andrew Wiggins (Golden State Warriors).

The Eastern Conference squad is rounded out by Demar Derozan (Chicago Bulls), Trae Young (Atlanta Hawks), Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers) and reigning NBA Finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks).

NBA All-Star Selection Controversy

Fans quickly took to the internet to express their sentiments about the picks.  The most common objections to the roster included the selection of Andrew Wiggins and the absence of Zack LaVine.

NBA All-Star voting is a three-part ballot. The fan vote contributes 50%, the media vote counts as another 25%, and finally, the players have a 25% weight attached to their votes.

Andrew Wiggins: Drawing fouls at a high rate for the Warriors - Golden State Of Mind
Credit: NBA/Golden State Warriors

Wiggins was the number one pick out of Kansas in the 2014 NBA draft. After playing with the Minnesota Timberwolves for six seasons, he made the big move to the west coast. In the Bay Area, his points per game hasn’t increased and he finds himself ranked the 11th best small forward on Player Efficiency Rating (PER). Wiggins is All-Star caliber, but a starter as a first-year player is a big ask.

The Phoenix Suns saw neither Devin Booker nor Chris Paul get a starting role. Also absent from the Western Conference starting five was Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic.

Notable Eastern Conference absences include Darius Garland and Jimmy Butler. The starter positions are hard to come by, but we’ll likely see all these names in the full player pool.

Luka Doncic: Dallas Mavericks' superstar point guard set to take another giant leap under Jason Kidd | NBA News | Sky Sports
Credit: Sky Sports

The selection of Trae Young over Chicago Bulls’ Zach LaVine also caused debate. LaVine has proved critical to his team’s success at second in the Eastern Conference, but Young has been exceptional this year. His PER finds him as the most efficient PG in the NBA. It’s impossible to see him outside of this starting five.

https://twitter.com/ATLHawks/status/1487102366889488384?s=20&t=DFT827rg3h3p1czXqpLWCw

On Feb. 3, NBA All-Star reserves are being announced.

The All-Star weekend officially begins Feb. 18 with the Celebrity and Rising Stars games.

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