The ballots are in and the fans have finally decided, and it really isn’t that bad after all. The NBA All-Star game, set for next month, has had a weird way of getting the fans involved. Whether it be the market a player plays in or the older players getting in simply off a name all-star starting nods are either well-deserved or sorely over-exaggerated, there’s simply no in between.

The starting lineup is such a big deal because often times, if a player is getting in just off a name, it guarantees that a more deserving player will be left off of the remaining 7 players on the bench. With that said, we take a look at this year’s starting lineups for each respective conference and whether some of the nods are well-deserved or should possibly be weighted differently.

Examining the West

Western Conference: PG- Stephen Curry, SG- Kobe Bryant, F- Kevin Durant, F- Anthony Davis, C- Marc Gasol
It might seem strange but the two weakest cases for their starting nods in the West are the two biggest names of the five in Kobe and Durant. First off, the debate is over with Curry, who, if the season ended today, would be league MVP. He has guided the Warriors to one of the most surprising starts in NBA history with a rookie head coach. Then we have Anthony Davis who himself is in the MVP discussion by and is single handedly keeping New Orleans in the playoff race. The third forward/center position was also well deserved by Marc Gasol who has been the main catalyst for the grit and grind grizzlies who are enjoying great success in the first half of the season. The argument against Kobe is his stats are inflated because he’s on a team that is really bad so he takes the majority of the shots, which despite his sub 40% shooting percentage, will lead to a decent point average. James Harden certainly should have received the nod over Bryant, he’s increased his efficiency and his team’s winning despite having less to work with this year in Houston. For Durant, it simply comes down to games played. He’s missed half of the season so far (just under 20 games) but hasn’t shown rust in his time out there and is still putting up close to 26 points per game. Someone like LaMarcus Aldridge or even Blake Griffin who have played a full season and are both main components for their teams, probably should have received the starting nod.

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Looking at the East

Eastern Conference: PG- John Wall, SG- Kyle Lowry, F- LeBron James, F-Carmelo Anthony, C- Pau Gasol

This list is really encouraging in terms of getting it right. The two guard spots are being taken by first time starters and in the case of Lowry a first time all-star in general. Fans could have gone with the popular choices such as Derrick Rose, Kyrie Irving, Dwyane Wade or Deron Williams for those spots simply off of a name but they really did pick the best two guards in the conference this season. Wall is having a career breakout year and Lowry is the best player on the one of the best team’s record wise in the conference. LeBron really needs no validation at this point; as long as he’s healthy, he’s producing. Gasol was a deserving surprise, leading a Chicago team that needs his type of inside scoring punch and also leading the team in rebounding, all while being on the wrong side of 30 and being a new player on his team. Gasol is still showing he has some left. Finally we come to Carmelo, who is really like the Kobe of the East in that he’s putting up great numbers but his team has less wins than the Sixers. It also is noted that he’s missed his fair share of games with a lingering knee issue. I would have really liked to have seen Paul Millsap get the starting nod here being Atlanta’s leader during their climb to the top seed of the conference at the break.
So we see that the fans are simply more aware and understanding of the All-Star starting lineups and how they really are affecting the league. It may be just a few spots here and there, but the more Lowrys and Gasols being recognized puts more trust in the system for the future. The fans are finally getting it right. The NBA All-Star Game will take place next month on Sunday February 15th.