The NBA All-Star Game is Becoming a Popularity Contest

The NBA All-Star Game has a growing problem with great players missing out on All-Star Weekend.

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If you’re a fan of the NBA, you probably heard the names Alex Caruso and Tacko Fall in the All-Star game conversation. Caruso and Fall certainly are not some of the best players in the league, but their style of play and physical characteristics helped them reach the top of fan voting.

Los Angeles Lakers guard Alex Caruso only plays about 18 minutes per game this season and averages 5.5 points per game. His numbers aren’t bad for a bench player, but you’d have to be crazy to call them All-Star level numbers. Despite his numbers, Caruso still reached the top ten in fan voting for Western Conference guards. Caruso has become a fan favorite for his high flying dunks and most importantly, his receding hairline. Caruso has adopted the nickname The Bald Eagle and is loved by Laker fans and lots of NBA fans around the country. Sadly, Caruso did not play in the All-Star game because he failed to acquire any player or media votes.

Recently the NBA changed the All-Star voting procedures to prevent the game from becoming a popularity contest with the most popular players making it in and the better players being left out. In previous years, the rosters were decided strictly by fan voting. Now, the fan voting only makes up 50% of the voting with the other 50% being decided by players and media members. (25% each) 

Boston Celtics center Tacko Fall also reached the top 10 in fan votes for his position despite only playing 5 minutes per game and averaging 4 points and 2 rebounds per game. Tacko’s claim to fame is his massive frame. Tacko stands at a whopping 7’5” tall and weighs 310 pounds. Nothing gets the crowd at a Celtics game more excited than Tacko checking into the game. Tacko finished 6th in fan voting among Eastern Conference forwards and somehow kept his All-Star hopes alive by receiving 7 player votes. Tacko finished 9th among Forwards in total votes but was not selected as an All-Star. Had the voting been only fan votes, Tacko would have been an All-Star, but the new rules prevented him from getting in.

With the New voting some All-Star caliber players didn’t make the cut. Wizards star Bradley Beal wasn’t voted in despite averaging 29 points per game. (5th most in the league) Beal often goes unnoticed when it comes to awards. As a teammate of superstar PG John Wall, Beal rarely puts up the type of numbers he’s achieving this season, but with Wall out for the season, Beal has taken on most of the scoring load for the Wizards. Beal likely missed out on All-Star weekend because he’s never really been labeled as a “superstar player”.

Beal didn’t seem to be upset though. Most players don’t mind missing the All-Star Game because they’re more focused on the main goal of the season. Making the NBA Finals. Skipping All-Star Weekend also gives players a week off the grueling 82 game NBA schedule to relax and spend time with family and friends. 

Most players don’t mind missing the All-Star Game because they’re more focused on the main goal of the season. Making the NBA Finals.”

Beal is an example of the growing trend of popular players beating deserving players out of the All-Star game. The new voting system has proved to be successful but isn’t bulletproof. At the end of the day, you can’t always get the most deserving players to the ballot, but the All-Star Game never disappoints.