If it were up to him, All-Star starters would be chosen by a different method.
Cousins, via Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:
“There definitely wouldn’t be fan voting,” Cousins told Yahoo. “You can’t base it off of who is on TNT and ESPN every night. Of course, it’s going to be most winning teams’ [players], the most popular players [selected]. The other guys that play for the Milwaukee Bucks, and in our case the Sacramento Kings, who are playing just as good basketball, will never be seen. I don’t think it’s fair.”
“I’m comfortable with the coaches picking and I believe they will make the right choice. They are more aware and more knowledgeable of who is an All-Star in this game.”
Cousins has a point. All nine players ahead of him played more nationally televised games this season before All-Star voting closed:
|Player||Team||Nationally televised games|
And though the Kings are winning more than the Lakers and Pelicans this season, Kobe and Davis have reached the playoffs. Cousins hasn’t. That certainly influences voters.
I definitely agree with Cousins on that contention. It’s not his fault that his teammates have largely stunk (and have ticked up to only so-so this season). That might make it more difficult to assess his individual ability, but it doesn’t change his individual ability. The onus is on anyone who takes their vote seriously – and that’s certainly not all fans – to parse the difference.
But coaches voting might not have made Cousins an All-Star starter.
They likely would’ve put Kobe in the game, though I suppose if they controlled the entire roster, they could’ve made him a reserve. Durant and Leonard are having better seasons than Cousins. So was Green – at least until Cousins’ tear after voting closed. In his previous four games, Cousins averaged 41.0 points, 14.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.3 blocks. Green hasn’t slipped, but Cousins has taken it up a notch.
Plus, coaches might be inclined to vote against Cousins after his years of feuding with coaches – including George Karl just this season. Whatever biases fans have, coaches have their own. Remember, they didn’t pick Cousins as a reserve last season (when I believe he deserved it). Adam Silver had to name him as an injury replacement.
But Cousins has another plan to make himself an All-Star starter: Undo the change from a few years ago and put centers on the ballot at their own position.
Cousins, via Silver:
“It’s disrespectful to big men,” Cousins told Yahoo Sports. “It’s not really fair. But that’s how it is.”
If the NBA had a separate center position, Cousins might have started. Pachulia, Kanter and Duncan finished ahead of him, but if it truly mattered for starting, fans would’ve taken Cousins candidacy more seriously.
Personally, I’d rather go the other way. Eliminate positions from All-Star consideration entirely.
Cousins makes good points on All-Star selections – the importance of popularity and team success. But it doesn’t seem the system is changing.
That’s why I gave up the fight, accepted the All-Star game for what it is and push for All-NBA to serve as the more definitive measure of players.
After all, Cousins – passed over by fans and coaches in All-Star voting last year – made the All-NBA second team.