Getting worked up over All-Star voting has always been peculiar to me for a number of reasons. It's an exhibition game -- and I'd bet the majority of the fans who get worked up over who makes the cut could not list half of last year's NBA All-Star team. The NBA All-Star Game doesn't decide who gets homecourt in the Finals, nor does it typically include every deserving player. As long as the NBA uses its current fan-voting system, that will continue to be the case. Is it annoying to see deserving players get snubbed by fans of bigger markets stuffing the ballots? Sure, but it's an exhibition game.
The second All-Star vote returns came back yesterday and zero Atlanta Hawks made the cut. With how Jeff Teague has grown as a floor general this season, many Hawks fans are chirping he should not only get consideration -- but be on the team. Only five guards were selected last season -- Kyrie Irving, Paul George, Rajon Rondo, Dwyane Wade and Jrue Holliday. Of the that list, Irving, George and Wade are likely to get voted in for the Eastern Conference once again. That leaves two, maybe three, spots for the rest of the guards in the East on this year's team.
To get a better idea of what Teague is up against this season here is the most up-to-date backcourt vote leaders:
- Dwyane Wade
- Kyrie Irving
- Derrick Rose
- John Wall
- Ray Allen
- Rajon Rondo
- Deron Williams
- George Hill
- Lance Stephenson
- DeMar DeRozan
Rose and Rondo are out, you never really know with Deron's ankles, and DeRozan might be in the Western Conference before All-Star Weekend. So, that really leaves Wall, Allen, Hill and Stephenson as the biggest obstacles in Teague's quest to make the team. It's also somewhat surprising Brandon Jennings and Arron Afflalo are not in the current top-10 in fan voting.
Breaking down the competition
Ray Allen: Allen hasn't made an All-Star team since the 2010-11 season when he was playing 36 mpg on a championship contender. Allen is now playing just 25 mpg in a reduced role on another championship contender. Allen has been a huge asset for the Heat, but his role just isn't big enough to warrant an All-Star appearance. I don't think anyone would be opposed to seeing Allen, Stephen Curry and Kyle Korver square off in the 3-point contest though.
Does Teague deserve the spot over Allen? Yes.
John Wall: With Wall off the floor for the Wizards this season the team has a +/- of -21.1. He's been an integral part to keeping the Wizards in the playoff chase and getting better every week. Wall has been more consistent scoring the basketball than Teague this season, is a better defender, and just overall has been better than Teague.
Does Teague deserve the spot over Wall? No.
George Hill: This has to be the most bizarre potential selection on the list. The Indiana Pacers' starting five is tremendous, but if you had to point out where they're weak -- it's at point guard. Perhaps it's Hill's looks that are getting him All-Star love this season, but he doesn't belong on the team over Teague. Hill is a quality scorer but isn't a pass-first guard who leads the Pacers offense. Hill is averaging just 3.6 apg and has a USG% of just 16.9 percent.
Does Teague deserve the spot over Hill? Yes.
Lance Stephenson: Stephenson is becoming the arbitrary stat guy in the NBA, compiling triple-doubles on arguably the best team in the Eastern Conference. Stephenson has a polarizing personality, plays with tons of energy, and has become a major part of what makes the Pacers great. Like Hill, Stephenson is still a role on a great who is reaping the benefits of being on an elite team in a weak conference. It's worth noting Stephenson had an eFG% of 39 percent just two seasons ago, but now boasts a 53 percent eFG%.
Does Teague deserve the spot over Stephenson? Yes.
DeMar DeRozan: Masai Ujiri is cleaning house and DeRozan could definitely moved before All-Star weekend. DeRozan started off the season strong, especially with Rudy Gay off the floor, but he's recently come back down to Earth. DeRozan is shooting just 31 percent from 3-point land at this point after a horrid December beyond the arc. DeRozan was expected to make a significant jump with Gay moving on to Sacramento, but it hasn't happened.
Does Teague deserve the spot over DeRozan? Yes.
Teague may not be more deserving than Irving, Wall or Wade, but he's definitely deserving of getting one of the final All-Star spots. Teague may still be a liability defensively, sure, but his development as a floor general has pushed the Hawks to atop the league in assists per game -- and that's huge.