Sports fans are, by and large, idiots.
Sentimentality is one thing (I am all for Dwyane Wade getting an All-Star appearance as a sort of Lifetime Achievement Award for a fantastic Hall of Fame career, the same way I was OK with a washed-up Michael Jordan in 2003 and an equally ‘he’s toast’ Kobe Bryant in 2016.)
I am also OK with a player becoming an instant fan favorite and getting a sort of ‘borrow against future stardom’ star next to his season stats on Basketball Reference (see Luka Doncic for an example.)
But let’s just picture for a moment a universe in which the NBA completely lost its mind and awarded Finals home-court advantage to the conference that wins the All-Star Game (like the stupid All-Star rule baseball had for a few years), and let’s further picture every player on the losing team getting a five-game suspension in the regular season (and a 30-game suspension for phantom injuries. No getting out, guys, you play for blood.)
My point is, let’s put together an East and West All-Star team based purely on stats that, because we’re still talking about an All-Star Game here and not a filthy Dark Ages slugfest, also happens to be shamelessly slanted toward trying to get one or both teams to 200 points.
Offensive stats (or stats like PER that are overweighted toward offense) only, please.
We’re going to put five guards and seven frontcourt players on each team.
Here’s how it works.
We’ll rank players against others of their own position (using Basketball Reference as the arbiter; “G” and “G-F” for guards, anything else for frontcourt.) If this differs from the NBA’s balloting, don’t @ me. The Play Index is the best sorting algorithm I’ve got.
They get one point for each “place” (1 point for 1st, 2 for 2nd, etc., with a maximum of 20 points per category just so an outlier doesn’t completely sink a guy), and lowest score wins.
Stats involved will be Points/100 possessions, True Shooting%, PER, Offensive Win Shares, and Offensive BPM. Best possible score is 5; worst is 100.
Devin Booker (72) and Derrick Rose (74) as alternates
Boban Marjanovic (73) honorable mention because HERO OF SERBIA, and what is with the Clippers and their mastery of the advanced stat math?
(and before you chirp at me, LeBron’s biggest ding was mainly due to missing too many games, because Offensive Win Shares is a cumulative stat.)
Go ahead, tell me a lineup of Steph, Harden, Brow, KD, and the Joker wouldn’t go 82-0 if they stayed healthy. And against Kyrie, Kemba, Kawhi, Greekazoid, and Embiid?
That’s an All-Star ballot even a fan voter can love. Especially since D-Rose placing seventh among guards is at least a little bit of vindication. And as a Pacers fan I’m giddy that Sabonis is on there.
And once again—there was ZERO human-factor input except for picking the stats (and slanting them toward efficient scorers who play great offensive games, exactly what an All-Star Game should be.)