The NBA has released the first wave of NBA All-Star fan votes and Dallas Mavericks’ forward, Luka Doncic is getting a lot of love from the fans around the world. Where is he ranked so far?
The NBA released a statement yesterday with the current vote counts on the NBA All-Star game. The Dallas Mavericks have been led by a rookie for all intents and purposes this season, but Luka Doncic is still just 19 years old. Is he playing at an All-Star level, according to the fans?
It appears that the NBA fans around the world seem to think so.
After the initial tally, Luka Doncic had received the 7th most votes (679,839) by any player across the league, 4th in the West. The players ahead of him so far are, in order: LeBron James (1,083,363), Giannis Antetokounmpo (991,561), Kyrie Irving (910,329), Steph Curry (793,111), Kawhi Leonard (774,172) and Derrick Rose (698,086).
Right behind Luka in votes received is Kevin Durant (659,968), Joel Embiid (648,002), Anthony Davis (605,417), Paul George (580,055) and James Harden (541,606). No other player has received more than 500,000 votes at the times of this statement. So is Luka the 7th best player in the league?
The answer to that one is no…for now, but the reality is that this 19-year old is likely going to be one of the best players in the league for many years to come. Luka is currently averaging 19.5 points per game, which is good for 34th in the league. He is also in the top 30 in the NBA in assists and top 50 in rebounds.
The last time a rookie was voted to the All-Star game was in 2011 when Blake Griffin made it to the big weekend. This one may be a little questionable based on the fact that he was drafted the year before but sat out with an injury, but there is no denying that he was deserving of the nomination.
Before that, Yao Ming went to the NBA All-Star game in 2003. This one was largely because of the fact that Yao was a pioneer in the league as the first big name player coming from China. He smashed many more deserving players in total votes thanks to his influence around the world. He ended up 2nd in the Western Conference voting, behind only Kobe Bryant.
In a way, Luka has found the middle ground between these two players with his incredible play on the court (especially in clutch moments), combined with his larger than life status from being recognized around the world as one of the best basketball players alive. Part of this is due to his flashy style of play and part of it is because of the hype surrounding him when he entered the league. Either way, he is an incredible basketball player.
If Luka is able to continue on his hot streak and make it to the All-Star game, he will be the 46th rookie to make it, but only the 3rd since the year 1998. Although Luka hasn’t outshone some of the guys he is ranked ahead of on the voting list, his ability to hit big time shots at important moments cannot be overstated. The Mavs record is maybe his only downfall so far this year.
There is a lot of time between now and the All-Star game and anything can happen. I expect the big names like AD and Harden and Durant to move up the list as time goes forward, making Luka’s road to the big game a lot harder. His chances of being chosen by the All-Star coach are slim, so a vote in via the fans is the most likely way for him to be there for the matchup between East and West.
There are only 12 roster spots available for the Western Conference All-Star team. Luka has looked like he deserves to be in the conversation for one of those spots over the past few weeks, but can he carry that on up until voting is over. If not, all this talk may be for nothing. If so, we will see something we have never seen before at the 2019 NBA All-Star game.