We continue PBT’s 2016-17 NBA preview series, 51 Questions. For the past few weeks, and through the start of the NBA season, we tackle 51 questions we cannot wait to see answered during the upcoming NBA season. We will delve into one almost every day between now and the start of the season.
The Warriors just signed someone who finished eighth among all players in All-Star votes last season.
No, not Kevin Durant.
Thanks to excessive voting in his native Georgia (the country, not the state) and a video by Wyclef Jean, Pachulia finished a mere 14,227 votes from starting in the 2016 All-Star game. Joining the star-studded Warriors probably won’t hurt his cause this season.
Curry and Durant started last season, and the other three weren’t behind. Here’s 2016 Western Conference voting:
1. Stephen Curry, 1,604,325
2. Russell Westbrook, 772,009
3. Chris Paul, 624,334
4. Klay Thompson, 555,513
1. Kobe Bryant, 1,891,614
2. Kevin Durant, 980,787
3. Kawhi Leonard, 782,339
4. Zaza Pachulia, 768,112
5. Draymond Green, 726,616
6. Blake Griffin, 651,860
Curry and Durant are clearly deserving of All-Star status. If Green plays as well as he did last season – and there’s no reason to believe he won’t other than we haven’t seen him at that level for an extended period – he should also make it. The best argument against Thompson is the abundance of star guards in the West. Pachulia is a starter or bust, but the fan vote makes him a real possibility.
We’ve seen super teams before, and it doesn’t even take one to get four All-Stars. Seven teams have done that:
- 2015 Hawks: Al Horford, Paul Millsap, Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver
- 2011 Celtics: Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo
- 2006 Pistons: Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton, Ben Wallace, Rasheed Wallace
- 1998 Lakers: Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, Eddie Jones, Nick Van Exel
- 1983 76ers: Moses Malone, Julius Erving, Maurice Cheeks, Andrew Toney
- 1975 Celtics: John Havlicek, Dave Cowens, Jo Jo White, Paul Silas
- 1962 Celtics: Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, Tom Heinsohn, Sam Jones
The Warriors threaten to reach another level. They were already so good, winning 73 games and reaching the NBA Finals last year, and Durant is exceptional even when compared to other stars. Golden State might not care to challenge its own record, but this team would have to work hard not to be really good.
Five All-Stars? All five starting? It’s one of the ways these Warriors could make history.