Duncan, Ginobili and Parker in early All-Star returns
The NBA on Thursday released the early numbers for All-Star voting, and the three Spurs you’d expect to be in the running are just that. Tim Duncan leads all Spurs with 189,577 votes, good for fourth in the frontcourt position. The NBA, you may remember, got rid of the center and forwards designations on the ballot and combined it all into one catch-all frontcourt group. Duncan trails Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard and Blake Griffin in frontcourt voting.
Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili are currently seventh (69,983 votes) and ninth (47,800 votes), respectively in guard voting. Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Jeremy Lin (yup), James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Steve Nash are ahead of Parker in the voting. Ricky Rubio sits one spot ahead of Ginobili.
Fan voting comprises just the starting lineups, so even if Duncan and Parker miss out on the fan vote, which is looking more and more likely, there’s a good chance that they’ll be chosen as reserves. Coaches are usually good about rewarding teams that have the top records in the league with multiple All-Stars. Usually. I don’t think Ginobili has played well enough to get much of an All-Star push, so it’s going to be Duncan and Parker, most likely.
The head coaches who are chosen to lead the Eastern Conference and Western Conference All-Stars make the decisions on the reserves, and those coaches are determined by team record through a particular date in the season, usually mid-February. What that means is there’s a good chance Gregg Popovich could be the one selecting the Western Conference reserves. Hopefully that happens and we get more great stories like this one:
Spurs coach Greg Popovich led the meeting, and he was pretty funny. He said, “Guys, we’re gonna go out and have fun. We’re not really gonna run any sets. We’re gonna get up and down. And all of you are gonna play a lot and get good minutes—except for probably Russell, Blake and Kevin. You guys are all f–ked.” We get it—we were the new guys. We know we’re not gonna get too much All Star love from a coach who’s been there as often as Pop. All the vets got a kick out of that line.
No word in the NBA’s release on how my #NandoForSkillsCompetition campaign is going. Voting for the NBA All-Star Game in Houston goes until January 14.