Will Luka Dončić Be an All-Star Reserve?

All-Star voting breakdown and projected Western Conference Froncourt Reserves.

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2019 NBA All-Star Starters were announced on Thursday and much to the dismay of Mavericks fans and Luka Dončić fans across the world, he was not selected.  However, the dream of sending our WonderBoy to the All-Star Game in Charlotte, NC on Feb. 17 is not dead.  Now that the Starters have been determined, it is now time to figure out the Reserves.

2019 NBA Western Conference Frontcourt All-Star Starter Voting Results

Player Fan Votes Fan Rank Player Votes Player Rank Media Votes Media Rank Total
James 4.62 M 1 174 1 78 1 1
Durant 3.15 M 3 168 2 77 2 2.5
George 3.12 M 4 76 4 43 4 4
Davis 2.52 M 5 136 3 66 3 4
Dončić 4.24 M 2 43 8 2 6 4.5
Jokic 1.45 M 7 75 5 33 5 6
Adams 1.78 M 6 48 7 0 8 6.75
Green .96 M 9 16 10 0 8 9
Towns .50 M 11 16 10 0 8 10
Aldridge .46 M 13 49 6 0 8 10

What should have been…

If you advance Luka’s Player Rank to 6, now ahead of Steven Adams and LaMarcus Aldridge, he would have been in a 3 way tie for the third frontcourt starting position with Paul George and Anthony Davis.  Since Luka had more fan votes than either of them he would have won the tie-breaker and been named a 2019 All-Star Starter along with Kevin Durant and LeBron James.

I have seen a lot of Luka Dončić fans on twitter talking about how all of the voting was for nothing and the fan vote doesn’t count but that is not the case at all.  The fans were great and did their part, skyrocketing Luka to 2nd among Western frontcourt players in fan voting.  Even a couple media members did their part by voting for Luka, placing him 6th in the Media Rank.  It was really the players that made a statement by keeping Luka out of the starting lineup, receiving the 8th most votes by his peers.  He was just a handful of player votes away from being the first ever rookie, teenage All-Star in NBA history.

Player Fan Votes Fan Rank Player Votes Player Rank Media Votes Media Rank Total
James 4.62 M 1 174 1 78 1 1
Durant 3.15 M 3 168 2 77 2 2.5
Dončić 4.24 M 2 43 6 2 6 4
George 3.12 M 4 76 4 43 4 4
Davis 2.52 M 5 136 3 66 3 4
Jokic 1.45 M 7 75 5 33 5 6
Adams 1.78 M 6 48 8 0 8 7
Green .96 M 9 16 10 0 8 9
Towns .50 M 11 16 10 0 8 10
Aldridge .46 M 13 49 7 0 8 10.25

Choosing Reserves

So the first round of voting is over, but the All-Star selection is not.  It is now time for the Western Conference head coaches to vote for the remaining Western Conference All-Stars to make up the 12 man team.  Coaches cannot vote for their own players and last year when it was all said and done there were 6 guards and 6 frontcourt players that made up the 12 man team.  That means that in selecting reserves there will be 3 additional frontcourt players chosen and 3 additional guards chosen.  The NBA will announce the All-Star reserves on Thursday, Jan. 31.

In addition, any injured player that cannot participate will have their replacement chosen by the NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver.  Last year there were a total of 3 players injured requiring replacement, making the actual number of players chosen as All-Stars to be 27.

In order to decide which players most deserve to be chosen as Western Conference Froncourt reserves we will use a statistic called Game Score.  Game Score was created by John Hollinger, former ESPN writer now VP of Basketball Operations for the Memphis Grizzlies) to give a rough measure of a player’s productivity for a single game.  I have applied that formula to each players statistics for the entire season to see who is best deserving based on the numbers they put up.

Here is how the Western frontcourt starters stats look so far this season.  You can see Paul George actually has the highest Game Score of the three players, largely attributed to his massive steals number.

Player MP FG% 3P% FT% REB AST STL BLK TOV PTS Gm Sc
George 35.9 44% 39% 84% 7.9 4 2.3 0.5 2.6 27 34.55
James 34.6 52% 36% 68% 8.3 7.1 1.3 0.7 3.4 27.3 33.86
Durant 35.5 51% 39% 90% 7.4 6 0.8 1.1 3.3 28 33.62

Now let’s look at the next 9 players that can make a case to be named a Western Conference frontcourt All-Star reserve.  As a reminder, we will be looking to fill 3 reserve spots from these 9 players.

Player MP FG% 3P% FT% REB AST STL BLK TOV PTS Gm Sc
Davis 37 51% 33% 81% 13.3 4.4 1.7 2.6 2 29.3 38.50
Towns 33.3 49% 37% 84% 12.3 3 1 1.9 2.9 22.5 28.82
Jokic 31.2 50% 32% 85% 10.3 7.7 1.3 0.7 3.2 19.8 27.85
Dončić 32 43% 36% 73% 6.8 5.3 1.2 0.3 3.2 19.9 25.33
Harris 34.5 50% 44% 88% 8 2.5 0.8 0.4 1.9 21 25.14
Aldridge 32.6 51% 24% 84% 8.6 2.5 0.6 1.2 1.9 20.6 24.39
Capela 34.2 63% 63% 12.6 1.5 0.6 1.8 1.5 17.6 23.11
Gobert 31.6 64% 65% 13 2.2 0.9 2.1 1.6 14.9 20.67
Adams 34.2 61% 0% 56% 10 1.7 1.5 0.8 1.6 15.3 20.03

The 3 reserves chosen if it was simply based off of Game Score would be Anthony Davis, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Nikola Jokic.  What immediately jumps out is that Anthony Davis is putting up another monster season, his Game Score puts all other candidates to shame and is by far the highest in the conference, Starters included.  Luka Dončić lands at an impressive 4th place on this list, which unfortunately would leave him as the first player out in terms of being a 2019 All-Star.  Although he would be the first one out, if anything were to happen to any of the 6 Western frontcourt starters, I am positive that Luka Doncic would be the first one in.  The fan voting spoke volumes about what the people want to see and the people want more Luka!  Adam Silver is no dummy, if given the opportunity to add Luka Dončić to the All-Star roster and captivate all of Europe in the process, I am certain he will do so.

But remember it is not statistics that decide All-Star reserves, it is the fellow Western Conference head coaches.  Will they decide to choose a Center from one of the top teams like Adams, Capela, or Gobert or will they go for the steady productivity of LaMarcus Aldridge or Tobias Harris?  I think winning has a lot to do with the coaches decisions, an observation that does not bode well for Luka Dončić as the Mavericks are currently the 13th ranked team in the Conference.  However, there are a lot of Western Conference teams that have already experienced the magic of 19 year old Slovenian Sensation, Luka Dončić.  He has put Paul George on skates when the Thunder came to Dallas, went #HalleLuka on James Harden and the Rockets, made miracles happen in Portland, and out-dueled KAT in Minnesota.  In just 46 NBA games Luka has been able to make a serious impact in just about every single one of them, but will it be enough for other coaches to think he is worthy of All-Star honors?  All I can say is, I hope so.

Choosing Teams

Once we know all the players, the vote leaders for each conferences are assigned as captains and can choose from the pool of All-Star selections to form their teams.  Last year, much to the dismay of NBA fans, the All-Star draft between LeBron James and Steph Curry was done in secret and the order of the selections was not released.

This year the NBA has announced that it will be televising the All-Star draft for the world to see, TNT will carry the All-Star draft on Feb. 7 at 6 pm CT.

The newly formed teams will also play for a charity of choice to help the games remain competitive.

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