December 14, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard (12) talks with Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant (24) against the Washington Wizards at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Why The NBA All-Star Voting System Needs To Change

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Leave it to the one and only “Sir” Charles Barkley to stir up a bit of controversy once again.

In a recent interview with South Florida’s 104.3 The Ticket WMSF-FM, Charles let it be known how he feels about the crop of players currently slotted in to be starters at the 62nd edition of the NBA All-Star game in Houston this February.

“I don’t think the fans should ever vote is because they just vote for their favorite players. I’m a big Kevin Garnett fan. But there’s no way in the world he should be starting the All-Star game right now. And the same way with Dwight Howard. Those fans who have penciled those two guys in (to) start… that’s a travesty to be honest. I like Dwight Howard but he ain’t played like no All-Star this year and Kevin Garnett (the same).”

A travesty? I wouldn’t go to that extreme, but the “Round Mound of Rebound” does have a valid point.

As of now, both Dwight Howard of the Los Angeles Lakers and Kevin Garnett of the Boston Celtics are pencilled in as starters for the Eastern and Western Conference All-Star teams based solely on fan-voting. Howard ranks second with 716,671 and Garnett is third with 390,751 for their respective teams.

The NBA All-Star game is just an overblown, overhyped contest of some of the best players in the sport, with nothing of real value at stake. If the fans want to see players like Garnett and Howard participate in the event, then what’s stopping them?

The votes have spoken.

But…

Do they deserve to be there based on their individual performances up until this point?

In my humble opinion, the answer is clear as day.

No.

Through 32 games, Kevin Garnett is averaging 14.8 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists a game. Taking away his shooting from the field (field goal percentage), his numbers are down across the board in every statistical category. The Boston Celtics also sit with a record of 15-17 and are struggling to maintain a hold on that final eighth playoff spot in the East.

So what exactly has Kevin done this season to warrant so many votes?

Nothing really.

He’s a name. He’s one of the most recognizable players in the league. He also plays in a big basketball market in Boston. Garnett is receiving votes based on his play from years past, as his struggles this season certainly don’t warrant a spot on the team, let alone as a starter.

What about the leagues residential “Superman”, Dwight Howard? Dwight is averaging 17.4 points (down from last seasons 20.6) and 12.0 rebounds (down from last seasons 14.5) through the same 32 game span. He’s still one of the dominating superstars in the NBA today, but his production on the court has certainly taken a hit since he’s come over to the Los Angeles Lakers. The team also find themselves two games out of the final playoff spot in the west with a record of 15-17 and have clearly been one of the more disappointing stories in basketball these past two and a half months.

Kobe Bryant, Dwight’s teammate in L.A, is currently the overall leader in votes with 1,117,456. Do the Lakers deserve two of their stars as starters in this years all-star game, considering their struggles thus far?

I don’t believe they do, but that doesn’t matter.

Again, the votes speak for themselves.

That’s where I have an issue, and that’s where I begin to agree with Charles Barkley.

The system we have in place now isn’t perfect. Heck, Houston Rockets guard Jeremy Lin sits third amongst Western Conference guards with 605,624 votes. Lakers guard Steve Nash, who has missed a majority of the season due to injury, has more votes (202,274) than Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (97,671) and San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker (128,996).

That’s not right.

I am fully aware that this game is merely an exhibition and the fans should hold all of the power as this is all for them. I understand that.

All I’m saying is that considering the importance we put on players who have earned all-star nods over the years and the pedestal we put them on after earning such a distinction, why can’t we just spread out the voting in a more equal manner so that people who know what they’re talking about and have a mind for the sport can have their say as well?

How would that work? How about this..

25% of the votes come from the fans. 25% of the votes come from select media. 25% of the votes come from league head coaches. 25% of the votes come from the players. That would go towards both the starting line-ups and second units.

I truly believe that this is the perfect system. The fans still have their say, yet we all don’t have to feel that the voting is tainted and misguided.

Then again, it’s never going to change. It’s always going to be this way.

The votes have spoken. The fans have spoken.

Chris Walder is the Lead Editor for Sir Charles in Charge. You may follow him on Twitter @WALDERSPORTS 

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Tags: Boston Celtics Charles Barkley Dwight Howard Golden State Warriors Houston Rockets Jeremy Lin Kevin Garnett Los Angeles Clippers Los Angeles Lakers Miami Heat New York Knicks Oklahoma City Thunder San Antonio Spurs Toronto Raptors

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