Luka Doncic, age 19, just 23 games into his NBA career, has already proved to be the best player on his team and one of the most clutch players in the league. Being clutch is nothing new to Luka, he has been doing it for years in EuroLeague where Pros 10 years older than him defer to the teenager and allow him to have the ball in his hands in clutch moments.
Now the same thing is happening in the NBA and HalleLuka does he continue to deliver!
This is our second time looking into Luka’s chances on being an All-Star this season, check out the first article to get historical perspective on rookies being All-Stars and info on last year’s All-Stars and voting results. There have been plenty of Rookies that have made the NBA All-Star team, but only one teenage Rookie has made the it, Moses Malone in 1975 (it was the ABA but I will allow it). The only other teenager to be an All-Star was Kobe Bryant at age 19 in his second season where he was voted in by the fans when he averaged 15.4 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.5 assists and started 1 game all season behind Eddie Jones and Rick Fox.
All Star Voting Process
Voting For Starters
3 frontcourt players and 2 guards are chosen to be starters. The new system, put in place last season, is weighted as follows:
50% Fan Vote – Luka should excel here and it is the largest portion of the equation. #LukaAllStar2019
25% Players Vote – I don’t think NBA Veterans will want a 19 year old teenager to be an All-Star so I don’t see a lot of love coming here.
25% Media Vote – I thought this may hold him back at first but it looks like the media is all-in on Rookie Luka taking over the NBA.
The lowest 3 weighted frontcourt scores and the lowest 2 weighted guard scores are chosen as the starters. If there’s a tie, the fan vote is the tiebreaker.
Luka will be classified as frontcourt, so we will just focus on other Western conference forwards and centers.
Choosing Reserves: This is done by a vote among the head coaches from each team’s respective conference. Coaches are not allowed to vote for their own players. If a selected player is injured and cannot participate, the NBA commissioner selects a replacement. Last year there were 6 guards and 6 frontcourt players chosen from each conference to make up each 12 person team. Last year there were 3 players injured, requiring replacement, making the actual number of players chosen as All-Stars 27.
Choosing Teams: The vote leaders for each conferences are assigned as captains and can choose from a pool of players named as all-stars to form their teams. The newly formed teams will also play for a charity of choice to help the games remain competitive.
Can Luka Make it?
Last year there were 6 guards and 6 frontcourt players on the roster for each team. Using that same formula, let’s see who would be in the running for Western Conference All-Star if they were chosen today Luka Doncic will be classified as a Forward so we will focus on that group of players first.
Locks – FrontCourt
When it comes down to it, there are some players that are locks to be All-Stars and some others that are in the running for the remaining spots. When it comes to Western Conference FrontCourt players I see 3 locks to get in, whether they be voted using the system above or chosen by the coaches of the West, there is no way these guys aren’t All-Stars:
The numbers put up by these 3 are just ridiculous across the board. No holes in their games, just dominance. Kind of hard to believe LeBron is shooting better from downtown than KD…
In the Running – FrontCourt
If there are 3 locks in the frontcourt then that means there are another 3 spots up for grabs. At this point in the season it looks like
The next tier of frontcourt players in the West would be these 11. Selecting the Forwards can be tricky because everything from Small Forward to Center are included. You can have two completely different style players, with different roles, competing for the same All-Star spot. For example, you have ball handlers and playmakers like Luka Doncic and Paul George up against rim running and rim protecting Centers like Clint Capela and Rudy Gobert.
There are a lot of players on the verge of being an All-Star and it can be tough to decipher all of the stats above. To make it a little easier, I have created a statistical heat map that illustrates which categories each players excels in and which ones they struggle with relative to the other players listed. Green cells are good, red are bad. Ranked by points per game.
I think the biggest part of what will go into the coaches vote for the All-Star Reserves will be how the team is performing at the time of the vote. The Western Conference standings are a logjam this season and one bad week can make or break your playoff seeding at any time. The Reserves were announced in late January last year, so if the Mavericks can find themselves near the top half of the standings at this time I think Luka has a great shot to be chosen.
So again, because of the 3 locks (LeBron, KD, Davis), 3 additional FrontCourt players will be chosen. If voting ended today I think it would be Paul George, Nikola Jokic, and Tobias Harris.
The beauty about this voting process combined with the international super-stardom of Luka Doncic is that we don’t even have to rely on Luka being selected by the coaches for his to become an All-Star.
As I mentioned above, 50% of the equation is Fan Vote when it comes to choosing the 3 FrontCourt Western Conference starters. Last year Draymond Green was second in the fan vote among the West FrontCourt players and almost ended up being a starter while averaging just 10 points per game. If someone as unlikable as Draymond can be second in fan voting then I think Luka can make a major push in this category.
Luka has captivated fans not just here in Dallas, not just throughout the country, but worldwide! The 19 year old WonderBoy stepping back and launching all over the NBA has the entire basketball world in a frenzy. He will certainly have the support of this blog, and many others, campaigning for him to be voted a Western Conference Starter. Voting is not yet open but once it is I will be sure to spread information on how to vote and how often you can vote. This goes out to Mavs fans, Real Madrid Fans, Slovenian Fans, and everyone else who just plain loves Luka, be ready to spread the word #LukaAllStar2019.
Just for kicks, let’s look at the Western Conference Guards situation as well…
Locks – Guards
In the Running – Guards
HeatMap – Guards
Only two of these guys can be chosen beyond the 4 locks of Curry, Lillard, Harden, and Westbrook. I think Derozan will get one of these spots, his combination of points/rebounds/assists is tough to argue. The last remaining spot will depend heavily on the Western Conference Standings at the time. As of today, I think it would be between Klay Thompson and Mike Conley