Today, the NBA announced the results of its 2016 All-Star fan voting, which determines the five starters from each conference.
For Golden State, reigning MVP Stephen Curry will be a starter for a second consecutive year after earning 1.6 million votes, second most in the league (Kobe Bryant - 1.9 million, and authorities are still tracking down the 300,000 IP addresses guilty of first degree basketball fraud).
Unfortunately, Klay Thompson (a starter from a year ago), and Draymond Green (who is earning MVP consideration in his own right) were left out of the Western Conference's top five. Joining Curry and Bryant are Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, and Kawhi Leonard.
Draymond Green reportedly held a late lead over Leonard at last check, but a late push by both fans of large hands and They Who Will Not Be Named landed Kawhi Leonard in the starting five.
Due to the return to form of Kevin Durant, and Bryant's honorary starter nod, there are a number of highly deserving Western Conference stars who will now have to wait to be named. James Harden, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, Marc Gasol and Oakland's own Damian Lillard will join Thompson and Green in playing the waiting game.
Meanwhile, the Eastern Conference starters will include a back court of Toronto's Kyle Lowry and Miami's Dwyane Wade. The front court consists of Cleveland's LeBron James, New York's Carmelo Anthony, and Paul George of Indiana.
For Warriors fans, it will be a disappointment to see just one Golden State player in the starting lineup. However, the team is all but guaranteed to earn a second all-star, and there's still a fair chance at three. Dominant teams almost always wind up with two (or three, or more!) all-star nominees, and the 39-4 Warriors certainly qualify. Plus, all-star reserves are named by coaches, rather than fans, and they historically tend to favor players from successful teams (as a source, I'm citing every Warriors fan in the Chris Cohan era).
Another positive for Warriors fans: you've got a couple of prime scapegoats. Either Kobe 'the Warriors-killer'' Bryant, or Kawhi Leonard of the rival San Antonio Spurs is responsible for the snub by the bay.
(Except not really -- Zaza Pachulia surged ahead of Draymond Green on the final days of voting, missing the cut to be an NBA all-star starter in the western conference by just 14,000 votes.)
Nevertheless, it's hard to find fault with most of the west's starters this season -- though I remain diametrically opposed to giving away a starting spot to a player based on lifetime achievement. What do you think?
RT @NBAAllStar: Western Conference All-Star Starter @StephenCurry30 of the @Warriors! #NBAAllStarTO pic.twitter.com/ARtllblx0E— LetsGoWarriors (@LetsGoWarriors) January 22, 2016
Sir Charles now leading #Warriors bandwagon. Says u have to be 'total moron' or 'total dam moron' not to think Draymond shouldn't start ASG.— Monte Poole (@MontePooleCSN) January 22, 2016