Are players from weak teams considered for the NBA All-Star Game?

This post has been written in December 2010, but might still be interesting. In the end, Blake Griffin got a spot on the NBA All-Star Game and Kevin Love was selected as a replacement for injured Yao Ming. We will update the content during the summer.

The “popularity contest” of the fan ballot determines the starting fives. Fans have about two months between November and January to pick their favorite players. [The 2019 voting procedure lasted less than a month, you can read more here]

Later the NBA coaches complete both rosters. Each coach can pick seven players (2 guards, 2 forwards, 1 center and 2 additional players regardless of the position) from his own Conference. Coaches cannot choose their own team players. If a player is injured (starter or not), the NBA office selects players as replacement players. [For more general information regarding the current voting process, refer to the voting page]

Every season, some players are making great stats in weak teams (non-playoffs and/or under .500 teams). Those players typically only have a small chance to make the All-Star Teams. That’s at least the feeling we have based on past votings.

Nobody doubts that players like Blake Griffin or Kevin Love making such amazing stats would be an easy pick for in the All-Star Teams if they were playing in Boston or LA [this was written eight years ago..].

That is, we were thinking which kind of players have been selected in the last 25 years? The best we could do was to look at the history of the players chosen as a reserve in the last 25 seasons (19852010)

  • Total Players chosen: 372
  • Players from teams under .500 victories: 65 (17% of total players)
  • Players from non-playoffs teams: 55 (15% of total players)
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20% of the players (73 out of 372) chosen after the fan ballot was released played on teams under .500 victories or not in the Playoffs. That’s more players than what we initially anticipated before looking at the numbers.

As depicted in the charts above, the trend was to select more of those players in the last 10 years. In fact, the numbers are more significant for the injury replacements (40%, 15 out of 37 players). It seems that the NBA prefers to reward players having great seasons, while the coaches prefer to reward good teams:

  • Total injury replacements: 37
  • Players from teams under .500 victories: 13 (35% of total players)
  • Players from non-playoffs teams: 12 (32% of total players)

Zydrunas Ilgauskas in 2003 was the player with the worst team record of the last 25 years to be chosen as an NBA All-Star Game reserve. Cleveland Cavaliers had 9 wins and 38 losses (.191) per January 31, 2003.

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