Could this years NBA All-Star weekend in Houston use some “Lin-Sanity”?
Well, that will certainly be the case if young Rockets guard Jeremy Lin keeps raking in those votes.
Lin currently ranks third amongst Western Conference guards in balloting after the first round of all-star returns were released early yesterday. His 298,319 votes sit just behind Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers (639,419) and Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers (353,603) in the race for those two starting spots on the team.
In fact, Jeremy could conceivably catch Paul and become the starting point guard, as he is just 55,294 votes away. Paul and Bryant have been the starting backcourt for the West the past two years.
Now, there is no way Lin will catch up to Kobe Bryant, but surpassing Chris Paul is not out of the question.
On the season, Jeremy Lin is averaging 11.3 points, 6.1 rebounds and 4.3 assists a game. Those aren’t terrible numbers by any means, but are they worthy enough of being an all-star?
In this case, it doesn’t matter. The starters of both the Eastern and Western conference all-star teams are chosen by the public. Fans from all over the world can vote using social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter (tweet players full first and last name, plus #NBABALLOT), or by going to NBA.com/allstar.
Jeremy Lin is an international superstar whose fandom reaches across the globe, similar to how former Rocket Yao Ming was during his playing days. Lin could easily get the majority of overseas votes from an Asian market which is ecstatic about its basketball.
It also helps that this years festivities will be taking place in Houston, which is where Jeremy currently resides as a member of the Rockets. If he were to start for the West as the hometown boy, it would be tremendous press for franchise to have one of their own highlighted on such a big stage.
In the end, even with his massive fandom, Jeremy Lin does not deserve to make the Western Conference all-star team.
At least for now.
Let’s face the facts, shall we? If Lin isn’t voted in to the starting line-up, the coaches who select the reserves will surely leave him off the squad. No one can argue with that fact.
If you take a look at other guards who also received a fair amount of votes thus far (James Harden of the Houston Rockets, Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs) and compare their numbers through 20 or so games of the regular season to that of Lin’s, you will see a huge disparity.
Jeremy Lin: 11.3 points, 6.1 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 39% from the field, 30% from three-point range, 2.7 turnovers
James Harden: 25.0 points, 4.4 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 43% from the field, 34% from three-point range, 4.2 turnovers
Russell Westbrook: 21.1 points, 4.8 rebounds, 8.5 assists, 41% from the field, 37% from three-point range, 3.3 assists
Tony Parker: 19.0 points, 3.4 rebounds, 7.6 assists, 51% from the field, 36% from three-point range, 2.1 turnovers
Coaches also take into account the team records of each player selected. They tend to side with those stars who play for winning squads that are in playoff contention. Occasionally, you will see a player who competes for an awful team earn a selection based on sheer talent alone.
The Houston Rockets (who currently sit at 10-11, 10th in the West) are considered by many to be one of the weaker teams in the conference, and certainly not on the level of such elite teams as the Thunder and Spurs. It would be hard to fathom seeing two members of the Rockets qualify as all-stars in 2013.
If anyone from Houston deserves a spot, it’s James Harden and not Jeremy Lin. They both won’t make it.
Lin isn’t one of the best guards in the Western Conference, but he is certainly one of the most popular, and that could be enough to land him a spot on the all-star team this season.
It’s essentially a game for the fans. If they want to see Jeremy play that badly, then so be it. None of my complaining will stop it from happening anyways.
Will he deserve it?
I don’t think so, but I would love to be proven wrong.
Balloting concludes on January 14th, so Lin still has another month to prove to fans (or the doubters, including me) why he should compete for the West in 2013.
Until then, I’m going to stand by my belief that Jeremy Lin has not yet proven to be an all-star in this league, at least through his skill on the court. There are way more worthy selections than him.
But heck, if Jamaal Magloire, Dale Davis, Nick Van Exel and Brad Miller can make it, then why can’t Lin-Sanity right?