The Kings deserve an All-Star this season
The first batch of returns for the 2023 Western Conference All-Star fan vote is out. And unsurprisingly, there are zero players representing the Sacramento Kings and plenty of players who aren’t worthy of receiving votes at all.
By definition, “An all-star game is an exhibition game intended to showcase the best players (“stars”) of a sports league.”
With the current voting format, the All-Star Game is now simply the All-People’s Game. The teams with the biggest fan bases — whether they’re real fans or casual fans — always have more players in the running for All-Star honors even if those players don’t deserve it.
Teams like the Sacramento Kings, no matter how well they play or how their players perform, are consistently underrepresented on the ballot. The most obvious example of this is that neither Domantas Sabonis nor De’Aaron Fox are even in the top 10 for their respective position lists.
Let’s take a quick look at some undeserving players compared to the Kings’ star duo.
De’Aaron Fox vs. Austin Reaves
In a perfect world, a mediocre player on a bad team wouldn’t get any kind of recognition. But that’s the reality of the NBA and franchises like the Los Angeles Lakers. During the years when the team was successful, they have amassed a massive toxic fan base that tarnishes the image of their true fans. These fans overvalue the players on the roster and use their sheer numbers to take spots away from deserving players.
The most obvious example of this is currently guard Austin Reaves. Not to say that Reaves is a bad player, he just doesn’t deserve All-Star status. This season, Reaves is a bench, role player ranked 12th in the West. He is currently averaging 10.8 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. If he were on the Kings, he would average a team-high seven points per game. His only quality trait is effort.
Fox, on the other hand, is currently the starting point guard for the fifth seed in the West. He is averaging just under 24 points, 4.6 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game. He’s also probably the best closer in the league this year.
After tonight, De’Aaron Fox has clutch shooting splits of 62.5/44.4/83.3%
He leads the league with 35 Clutch FG on 56 attempts. His 62.5% is absurdly high for volume.
Oh, and he was 5-for-5 in Clutch tonight [email protected] @DLoAndKC
— Will Z. Stats (@will_zimmerle) January 4, 2023
Now in his sixth year in the league, Fox has yet to be named to the All-Star team once again despite putting up some stellar numbers. However, it was at least fair as Kings played incredibly well for his entire career. But this year, the Kings are a legitimate playoff contender and are competing at a very high level. There are no more excuses for him not to at least be in the top 10 of votes among guards. But that’s life when you play for the Kings.
Domantas Sabonis vs. Kevon Looney
Similar to the Lakers, the Golden State Warriors have amassed a similar fan base over the past 10 years due to their high level of success. There are now millions of casual Warriors fans who can’t name the team’s head coach before Steve Kerr took over. And like Lakers fans, the large number of Warriors fans equates to their players receiving tens of thousands of votes they don’t actually deserve.
For example, Kevon Looney. Looney, who I actually think is a very good player, just isn’t good enough to be an All-Star. Without their superstar Steph Curry, the Warriors are currently an average team. Looney is more or less an average player. Right now, he’s averaging 6.7 points, 8.4 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game to rank ninth in the West. He is a good rebounder and had some great moments in the finals last year. But on a typical night, he’s just average.
Then there’s Sabonis. Perhaps a triple-double center in the NBA this year, Sabonis is averaging 18.7 points, 12.4 rebounds and 6.7 assists per game. Not only does he average the most rebounds per game in the entire league, but he also leads the league with 28 double-doubles on the season, also the most in the entire league.
Oh, and he’s doing it all with a broken thumb.
Before coming to Sacramento, Sabonis was a two-time All-Star for the Indiana Pacers. But now that he’s in Sacramento, he’s not even cracking the top-10 despite having arguably the best season of his career.
After all, players should not be punished or rewarded strictly because they play for a particular team. Players should become All-Stars because they deserve it and are performing at a higher level than their peers.
This is just the first set of voting numbers we’ll see, and there’s still plenty of time to vote. But so far, as not only a Kings fan, but an NBA fan, this is just embarrassing. Our players deserve some recognition and we deserve to see them represent Sacramento at that level. Something we’ve only seen three times since 2005.
So I urge all my fellow Kings fans to get out there, vote to get rid of him. Let’s give our stars the same effort they give us every night on the field.