In more fodder for the Everybody Loves Paul George files, the Pacers’ rising star has received more All-Star votes than all but three players: LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant. With nearly half a million votes so far, according to the NBA, George is on pace to star this year’s midseason classic, and ranks second in the East in overall votes.
Sometimes it takes awhile for a young player to get his due. The voting populace isn’t always as up to date with the facts on the court as they are the reputations of vets. See: Bryant, Kobe. But it seems like that signal/noise gap is closing in the internet age. Because while there are still some silly names on the leader board (mostly the result of players in big markets who have a lot of fans), the top of the list is by and large acceptable.
Roy Hibbert, for example. ranks fourth among Eastern Conference front-court players, behind only James, George and Carmelo Anthony. Which is probably correct. You can argue Hibbert vs. Anthony, but both are playing tremendous basketball, and both are locks to make the roster (with Melo a near-certainty to get the start given his lead in votes).
The only real beef Pacers’ fans could have is the exclusion of Lance Stephenson from the top 10 back-court players. He, in my opinion anyway, should be ahead of George Hill, for one, as well as Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen and Deron Williams. But c’mon. Voters aren’t paying that much attention. And neither Stephenson nor Hill likely will merit inclusion in the game anyway so it’s a bit like arguing which is the best movie script that won’t get made into a film this year.
David West is the one other name who might make the team. He has been his wonderful self most of the year, but his numbers are a bit down, mainly because he missed a ton of shots at the start of the year. Whether or not he makes it will likely come down to the Pacers’ record when the coaches vote for the reserves. If they are still on this torrid pace, he might get in. If not, the final front-court spots will go to deserving guys like Brook Lopez and Andre Drummond who are having better years on worse teams.
Regardless, Pacers’ fans will at least get to see George and Hibbert at All-Star Weekend.
And, oh yeah — presuming everything keeps going so swimmingly, Frank Vogel should be coaching them.