The NBA today announced changes to the selection of starting lineups for the All-Star Game. Fans still have the most say, as 50 percent of the vote will come from their selections. However, media members now account for 25 percent of the vote, and players round out the remaining 25 percent.
Since 1975, fan voting has determined the All-Star starters. This has allowed superstars who are either aging or on godawful teams (hi Kobe, hi Carmelo Anthony) to make the starting roster. (It also almost gave Zaza freaking Pachulia a starting spot, due to a zillion Georgian votes and the inexplicable support of a so-called Vine star.)
So how does this affect the Celtics? Most likely, not much: Isaiah Thomas has a slim chance of taking a starting guard spot from Kyle Lowry, Kyrie Irving or Dwyane Wade, given that half the voting weight still goes to fans of those players–all of whom are more popular than I.T.
In theory, player and media voting–plus a big dose of Boston enthusiasm–could help someone like Al Horford. Numerous basketball writers have long noted the underappreciated nature of Horford’s unflashy effectiveness, and by all accounts his reputation is sterling among players throughout the league. However, the All-Star starter selection method, where voters choose two guards and three frontcourt players, favors the East’s forwards. Players like LeBron James, Melo, Jimmy Butler and Paul George are more popular–and in James’ and Butler’s case, better–than any East center. That said, were an upset to occur, fans of Horford or Andre Drummond would be the most likely causes.
In a more general sense, this rule change could help many players with contract-incentive bonuses contingent on All-Star selections. Those currently under contracts with such clauses include Magic guard Evan Fournier (a soft maybe), Atlanta Hawks floor general Dennis Schroeder (possible, but unlikely), the Mavericks’ Deron Williams (no chance in hell; his bonus also requires the Mavs to make the playoffs and his collapsing body to play 72 games LOLNOPE) and Omer Asik of the Pelicans (which seems downright cruel; have you no decency, Dell Demps?).
Bringing it back to the Cs: If both I.T. and Horford didn’t get voted in as reserves–which will still be decided by the conferences’ head coaches–I’d be legitimately shocked. Barring catacylsm, our stars represent will Boston in New Orleans this February.