For the past few seasons, NBA fans could almost predict the roster for that year’s anticipated NBA All-Star Game. Players like Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, Kevin Durant and Dwyane Wade would be an automatic give-in on the starting line-up, but have we reached a new era of basketball? These NBA All-Stars may have reached their veteran years and there are new faces considerably taking over in what some fans see as a popularity contest. The 2015 NBA All-Star weekend is scheduled for February 13-15, and the recently revealed roster has fans realizing that this may be one of the best and maybe even most refreshed All-Star weekends yet.
The fans hold the fate of the All-Star game, and votes are made for their favorite players to make the cut. With Kobe Bryant starting for the Western Conference and LeBron James starting for the East, some of the other starters do not include big names like those we have seen in previous years. The fans undoubtedly surprised the entire NBA community with who was chosen to start. The other four starters for the Western Conference include Blake Griffin (LAC), Marc Gasol (MEM), Anthony Davis (NO) and Stephen Curry (GS). The starters for the East are Kyle Lowry (TOR), John Wall (WAS), Pau Gasol (CHI) and Carmelo Anthony (NY). For the first time in NBA history, two brothers will start the opening tip-off. Pau Gasol will jump tip versus his brother, Marc Gasol.
Kyle Lowry definitely made a comeback this season. The last time he made an All-Star appearance was in his 2006 rookie year when he was on the Memphis Grizzlies. Now, as a Toronto Raptor, he not only made a comeback to appear in the All-Star Game after almost ten seasons, but was voted to be a starter. He received 805,000 votes, which surpassed Miami’s Dwyane Wade by 20,000 as they fought for the starting guard position.
LeBron James received the most votes by the fans last season, which was preceded by Kobe Bryant in the year before. Yet LeBron took a 42,000 voter deficit as a young rising star received the most votes to appear in the NBA All-Star Game. Stephen Curry, off of the Golden State Warriors has been a rising point guard in what has only been his rookie seasons. He received the most overall votes at 1.5 million. In the last update before the final cutoff, LeBron was leading by approximately 13,000 votes. Curry made his first All-Star appearance last year. He was a 2009 first-round pick and seventh overall.
Anthony Davis, who is also still in his rookie seasons, will also make his second NBA All-Star appearance this year. He was the 2012 overall first pick. Reaching a milestone himself this year, he was recorded to have 1.3 million votes for this year’s All-Star Game, which ranks him as third in overall votes. Preceding him in the front court was Marc Gasol with 795,000 votes, then Blake Griffin finishing with 700,000.
While some of the NBA’s most popular players were left out of the starting line-up, it is arguable that this year’s season has overall surprised the fans as a whole. With emerging talent coming from a handful of its rookies, some talent may be emerging from comeback veterans like Lowry and Pau Gasol in what could be the start to a new era of basketball.
Commentary By Tricia Manalansan
Photo Courtesy nikk_la – Flickr License