By: Kento Kato
There has been some controversy with Paul George and Gordon Hayward not making any of the 3 All-NBA Teams. And deservedly so. The two All-Stars who are rumored to be a likely candidate to switch teams in the next year to two years, were eligible for a designated player veteran extension that would have given them the chance to sign a “super max” contract in the ballpark of $200 million. But because they were left off, George will miss out on upwards of $70 million while Hayward will most likely opt-out of his current contract and look for a team to join this summer. While an argument could be made to have Paul George in the All-NBA teams, probably on the All-NBA Third Team, which is where I would have him over DeMar Derozan, most aren’t too upset or irate over the snub itself.
Most people are irate though, over the fact that the media gets to decide who is on the All-NBA Teams and therefor, has such a control over if a player can make $70 million. But we have to remember that it was the NBA players association that agreed on this. It wasn’t like the league just decided this or that the media members wanted this power. In fact, media members have been vocal about how awkward it may get since the results and the voters’ choices are shown, meaning a media member who did not vote for Hayward or George may have to go face-to-face with a man that they cost a lot of money. Jackie MacMullan of ESPN even talked about how a certain team tried to campaign to the media members with votes for one of their players to be voted. As you can see, this is a very hard position to be in. So why not just let someone else decide? Well it isn’t that easy.
The fans could be left to vote for the All-NBA Teams but they are as biased as they come. Just look at some of the NBA All-Star Game polls and you can see that the fans are either not educated enough about the current season, do not care, or just vote for who they like. Just as a reference, in the past, Yao Ming was voted as a start despite being injured for much of the season, and even in his declining and injury-filled seasons, Kobe Bryant made the All-Star Game despite not playing great. Even this year, Russell Westbrook did not get the nod to start the All-Star Game despite averaging a triple-double. So that obviously would not work.
So why not let players vote? While some players may vote seriously and unbiasedly, it can be easy for them to vote for someone who is a teammate or a childhood friend. Who knows, maybe they don’t vote for a teammate because they want more touches. We can’t be sure of their agendas either. And while those players may be seriously, there is still a fraction of the NBA that does not care. Just look below at some of the players that were voted to be in the All-Star Game by other players. Yes there are a lot of votes for the actual stars and it seems like the majority of guys took it seriously. But there are still a lot of votes for guys like Wayne Ellington, Randy Foye, Cameron Payne, Tyler Ennis, and Malik Beasley. No disrespect to those guys but this is ridiculous.
While the media having to vote is no ideal situation, it may be the best of other bad choices. The fans can never be trusted and until the players show a willingness to try and be serious, then it will be hard to leave it to them too. Kenny Smith of TNT suggested that maybe former players and or Hall of Famers could be asked to decide on the All-NBA Teams and that may be an option but as of now, it looks like the media will have this power and the players and fans can only get mad at the player’s association for agreeing to such terms.