NBA All-Star voting results have been released, and there's good news on the Pistons front. First, Andre Drummond is still maintaining a starting spot in the front court, with a roughly 6,000 vote lead on Carmelo Anthony, and would be starting alongside LeBron James and Paul George.
However, the bigger news is in the back court voting. In the first return, Reggie Jackson was not inside the top 10, due to popularity, ignorance, whatever. Now, he has taken over Nicolas Batum's space in the top 10, sitting 10th with over 44,000 votes (for those wondering, Isaiah Thomas, who is ninth, is nearly doubling Reggie's vote count).
The current top 10 Eastern Conference guards, as it stands, are as follows:
Dwyane Wade - 562,558
Kyrie Irving - 271,094
Kyle Lowry - 242,276
Jimmy Butler - 220,429
John Wall - 207,274
DeMar DeRozan - 170,539
Derrick Rose - 159,787
Jeremy Lin - 122,988
Isaiah Thomas - 87,452
Reggie Jackson - 44,525
Those that know me know my opinion on the voting format. I hate it. The fans can't be trusted, and it ends up being a popularity contest. If you're into that kind of thing, great, but if you're into rewarding the most deserving players it leaves a lot to be desired. The system isn't changing, however, so Pistons fans need to get Reggie into the game. Let's compare the seasons of the top 10 guards in the East and see who really deserves to be an All-Star.
18.5pts - 4reb - 4.5ast - 46.1%FG - 24.1%3PT - 78.4%FT - WS/48 = 0.133 - TEAM - 21-14
Wade is having a good season for the average 33-year-old. Of course, we're seeing some declines due to age but that should be expected. He's averaging a career low in points outside his rookie year, and he is shooting a career worst field goal percentage. His rebounding is good, but his assists are at a career low, as are his minutes, which explains some of the statistical dropoff.
Wade is always going to get votes. He's friends with LeBron James (that helps), is one of the league's biggest superstars in the last 15 years, has three rings, has made every All-Star game since his second year, plays for a big-market team in Miami and is, by all accounts, a really nice guy. It also helps that his team is currently third in the East at .600, although a tougher schedule awaits as they finally play a few road games, which may level things out.
17.4pts - 2.7reb - 4ast - 45%FG - 24.1%3PT - 86.2%FT - WS/48 = 0.210 - TEAM - 24-9
Irving has appeared in a massive seven games this season since coming back from the fractured kneecap suffered in last year's NBA Finals. As such, he's only played in 24 minutes per game thus far. His 3-point shooting has dipped horribly, and he's attempting over four per game. He is in no way a reason why the Cavaliers are currently top of the Eastern Conference and favourites to advance again. Simply put, Irving does not deserve to be a starter based on the fact that he hasn't played nearly enough games.
So why does he get votes? First, he's a former No. 1 pick and a generally likeable young man. He's a teammate of LeBron James and Kevin Love (and Matthew Dellavedova, how he's not in the top 10 is a travesty). He plays on a team with a lot of national exposure in Cleveland that is also the class of the Eastern Conference. He is also a three-time All-Star at the young age of 23.
Is Irving an All-Star calibre player? Undoubtedly. When healthy, he's a top-10 PG in the league. His ball handling is rivalled only by Curry, and his exceptional finishing ability with either hand makes him a threat inside as well as out. However, his health is a big conditional factor, and he never seems to be 100 percent healthy. He really shouldn't be an All-Star this year, not above more deserving players.
20.6pts - 4.9reb - 6.5ast - 41.3%FG - 37.4%3PT - 88.7%FT - WS/48 = 0.201 - TEAM - 22-15
Kyle Lowry finally broke the All-Star barrier last season after many thought he was snubbed for the 2014 All-Star game. He is the leader of a consistently good Raptors squad, and is a heavy contributor in a number of major statistical categories. As well as the stats mentioned above, he is also among the league leader in steals with 2.2 per game (third in the league).
Kyle Lowry isn't generally thought of when you consider superstars in the NBA, but he is, in my mind, a superstar. He gets votes because he's an amazing offensive player capable of scoring and setting up, but also because he's a hound dog defensively and has led his team to a near .600 record. Add to that the fact that he has the whole market of Toronto and probably Canada voting for him and its hard to see him not making the All-Star game. If he 's not voted in as a starter he'll certainly be a coaches selection.
22pts - 4.8reb - 4.1ast - 45.7%FG - 33.1%3PT - 83.3%FT - WS/48 = 0.209 - TEAM - 22-12
Jimmy Butler is the best guard in the Eastern Conference. I have no problem in admitting this, and the fact that he is fourth in voting and not first is a travesty and a testament to how fans cannot be trusted. He's the leader of a strong Bulls squad, and should be considered the new franchise player in Chicago, such is Derrick Rose's problems with inefficiency and injury. Butler is everything you want in a shooting guard. He's an excellent defender, he possesses great strength, is a tremendous rebounder, has a consistent and reliable midrange game, attacks the basket, attempts over seven free throws a game and, due to his 6-foot-7, 220-pound frame, has no problem posting up 95 percent of his matchups. His only problem is an inconsistent 3-point shot, but that will come in time.
Butler should have more votes, and I'm surprised Irving has more than him. Butler plays in a larger market, is nationally relevant and he's the face of the franchise. He just broke Michael Jordan's franchise record for points in a half with 40 against the Raptors. He is a definite All-Star. He should be starting.
19.5pts - 4.1reb - 9.8ast - 42.9%FG - 34%3PT - 77.7%FT - WS/48 = 0.091 - TEAM - 15-18
Ahh, the antichrist to our saviour.
We have to put our differences aside, here, for Johnathan Hildred Wall Jr., because he deserves to be an All-Star. He's second in the league in assists, fifth in steals, and is a dynamic superstar player stuck on a team riddled with injuries and prehistoric coaching. Is he the reason why the Wizards are currently 12th in the East, and one of only six teams under .500? No.
Wall is probably the best pure point guard in the Eastern Conference. Actually, it's amazing he can get into the paint and generate as many assists as he does despite not having a reliable jump shot. While we may not think too kindly of him here for comments singling our Reggie Jackson as a salary comparison, he is a superstar, and should be an All-Star.
22.6pts - 4.2reb - 4.2ast - 44.4%FG - 30.2%3PT - 84.5%FT - WS/48 = 0.162 - TEAM - 22-15
DeMar DeRozan has developed into more than just a dunker. Still an incredible athlete, he uses his length and explosiveness to not only fly past people and jump over them, but to shoot over most of his defenders with his 6-foot-7 height. He has a reliable midrange game, but like Butler, his three is a work in progress. He also posts up effectively, and lives at the line.
While Lowry may be the real reason why Toronto is so effective, DeRozan is the star attraction. He jumps higher, scores more points, and is a fun player to watch. Like Lowry, he has the large market of Toronto and Canada voting for him, and after gaining his maiden and lone All-Star berth in 2014, he is looking for No. 2 in the city he represents.
14.6pts - 3.4reb - 5.1ast - 39.6%FG - 22.9%3PT - 72.2%FT - WS/48 = -0.004 - TEAM - 22-12
Talk about a fallen champion. This is probably Rose's worst season since ever. He has a career low in points, free throw percentage, 3-point percentage (bar rookie year) and field goal percentage (bar 2013-14, when he only played 10 games). On top of that, he's actually contributing negative wins, and has a value over replacement player of -0.5. Like I said above, Butler is fast becoming the face of Chicago while Rose sadly, unceremoniously, and heartbreakingly, fades into the ether.
It's actually quite sad, really. As Pistons fans, we like to laugh at the misfortune of the Bulls, but when you see a former MVP and three-time All-Star turn into this, essentially doing a reverse saiyan, it's never nice. We like to see the best players in the league healthy and performing regardless of team. In 2011, Rose was the best player in the league, a nice break from LeBron dominance, and he was even the youngest person ever to win MVP, at a fresh 22 years of age. People were envisioning a Hall-of-Fame, multiple-championship career from him. And while he hasn't gone full Brandon Roy yet (and you should never go full Brandon Roy), his star is fading, and his chances of a Hall of Fame career are shortening.
12pts - 3.2reb - 3.2ast - 43%FG - 32.7%3PT - 77.1%FT - WS/48 = 0.101 - TEAM - 17-18
I never thought I would have to write about Jeremy Lin in a piece like this. His moment in the sun, Linsanity, was over four years ago now, and while he has developed and settled into a very respectable point guard, usually in a reserve role, he deserves to be an All-Star about as much as the Detroit Lions deserve Calvin Johnson, which is to say, not really. He's a nice player, but has only started in five of the 33 games he's appeared in thus far. What's more, his career has developed into such a gimmick that he's using ridiculous hair styles to stay relevant and talked about.
Of course, he gets the votes from those who fondly remember Linsanity as well as the numerous basketball fans from China. But seriously, come on.
This is why the fans can't be trusted.
20.7pts - 2.9reb - 6.8ast - 41.1%FG - 32.1%3PT - 88.5%FT - WS/48 = 0.177 - TEAM - 19-17
Thomas, named after the Pistons greatest ever, Isiah Lord Thomas III, is the underdog. The shortest active NBA player (from memory) standing at a miniscule 5-foot-9 (which is 176cm for the 98% of the world who uses the metric system), he is a beacon of hope for the little guy everywhere. Not only is he small, he's also the NBA's version of Mr. Irrelevant, as he was the dead last selection in the 2011 NBA Draft, with little to no hope of forging a respectable career, let alone one where he could be an All-Star.
Thomas is easily Boston's best player, providing their offensive spark through scoring and a large helping of a career high number of assists. However, he's shooting a career worst from downtown, but is still a massive threat off the pick and roll and in transition, and it baffles me how his shot isn't returned to sender every time he drives. Does he deserve to be an All-Star? You could sway me either way, but he may be a casualty of the Beastern Conference.
19.8pts - 4.1reb - 6.4ast - 43.5%FG - 35.4%3PT - 86.1%FT - WS/48 - 0.172 - TEAM - 20-16
The Pistons' Italian-born sensation and leader is finally getting the attention he deserves, and is firmly in the race for an All-Star game nod alongside Andre Drummond (who's all but sealed his invitation with his amazing play). Reggie, however, is the driving force behind the Pistons. While Drummond has battled inconsistency and focus, the team usually goes as far as Jackson will take them, and this year it's taken them above .500 and into the playoff conversation. He is a clutch player, and a demon in the fourth quarter (hello, Portland).
However, besides his obvious strength in his driving to the basket (league leader in drives per game) and his finishing ability, his development of a 3-point shot has been pivotal to the Pistons' success. Jackson is a career 30.5 percent three-point shooter, and this season, he is five percentage points above that mark, a career high. Many thought his lack of shooting would be his downfall after receiving such a massive contract, but he's proven how versatile and adaptive he is.
Before I give my final rank list, let's see how Jackson ranks against the other players in this piece in all the categories outlined.
PPG - 5th
RPG - T4th (Wall)
APG - 4th
FG% - 5th
3P% - 2nd
FT% - 4th
WS/48 - 5th
Reggie is top-5 in every statistical category. Therefore, let me show you my order for who I feel should be going to the All-Star game in Toronto based on this list here and the numbers.
1. Jimmy Butler
2. Kyle Lowry
3. John Wall
4. Reggie Jackson
5. Isaiah Thomas
6. DeMar DeRozan
7. Dwyane Wade
8. Derrick Rose
9. Kyrie Irving
10. Jeremy Lin
I think Wall through DeRozan is very close. It's sad how the top two vote getters are so far down the list. Also, I've put Rose ahead of Irving based on health, and Irving ahead of Lin based on logic.
What stats would you use to differentiate? Does Reggie make your All-Star roster? What would your order have been? Comment below.