Technically, fan balloting for the All-Star Game ends Jan. 31, and TNT plans to announce the starters on Feb. 2.
In reality, fan balloting already is over, and the starters already have been announced.
While Twitter was all atwitter Thursday, with everybody and their fathers sending snippets of the first returns released by the NBA, we didn’t see anyone point out the yawning margins between the potential starters and also-rans.
To unseat the current leaders at each position, it would take a “vote early, vote often” campaign that would make election day in Chicago look like it was being overseen by Ernst & Young.
Our personal favorite is Eastern Conference center, where Dwight Howard has received 754,737 votes, more than 10 times the 75,038 votes given to Joakim Noah, who should be preparing a speech announcing his withdrawal from the race.
The East forwards are LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, with the latter more than 300,000 votes ahead of teammate Amar’e Stoudemire. The leading guards are Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade, who is nearly 400,000 votes in front of Rajon Rondo.
The Western Conference center will be Andrew Bynum, who is more than 350,000 votes ahead of DeAndre Jordan. (DeAndre Jordan? Really? Come on.)
It’s another landslide at guard, where Kobe Bryant leads and Chris Paul is second with a cushion of over 400,000 votes over Ricky Rubio.
The closest race is for the West forward slots. Kevin Durant leads and Blake Griffin has “only” 160,000 more votes than Dirk Nowitzki. That race probaby is over, too, given that players from Los Angeles hold four of the top five spots, Clippers center Jordan’s second-place standing and Lakers forward Metta World Peace somehow collecting 39,006 votes.
We’re not grumbling about the fans’ choices, at least at the top of the ballot. With the possible exception of Kevin Love at one of the West forward spots, all 10 current leaders are certainly deserving, which will reduce the number of snubs when coaches vote for reserves.
But the balloting is over, no matter how few precincts are reporting.
Also keep in mind that this is more than a popularity contest. When you stuffing the ballot box for your favorite player – deservedly so or not – you may be indirectly rubber-stamping him an automatic raise in his next contract that could impact that team’s salary cap.
One final point: If you are among the 41,832 morons who voted for Joel Anthony, you should have your League Pass account canceled without a refund.