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The Kings deserve an All-Star this season

The current voting method is a joke.

Denver Nuggets v Sacramento Kings Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

The first set of returns for the 2023 Western Conference All-Star fan votes came in. And to no surprise, there are zero players representing the Sacramento Kings and plenty of players not worthy of receiving votes at all.

By definition, “An all-star game is an exhibition game that purports to showcase the best players (the “stars”) of a sports league.”

With the current voting format, the All-Star game is now simply the All-Popular game. The teams with the largest fan bases — whether they are true fans or casual bandwagoners — always have the most players in the hunt to earn the title of All-Star 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 constantly underrepresented on the voting lists. The most glaring example of this is that neither Domantas Sabonis nor De’Aaron Fox are even in the top 10 for the respective position lists.

Let’s take a quick look at a couple 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 receive any sort of recognition. But this is the reality of the NBA and franchises like the Los Angeles Lakers. During the years when the team was successful, they’ve accumulated a massive toxic fanbase that ruins the image of their true fans. These fans overvalue the players on the roster and use their large numbers to take spots away from deserving players.

The most glaring example of this is currently is guard Austin Reaves. Not to say Reaves is a bad player, he’s just not deserving of the status All-Star. This season, Reaves is a bench, role player on the 12th seed in the West. He currently averages 10.8 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. If he were on the Kings, he would average the seventh most points per game on the team. His only quality trait is effort.

Mediocre...

On the flip side, Fox is currently the starting point guard on the fifth seed in the West. He is averaging just under 24 points, 4.6 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game. He is also arguably the league’s best closer this year.

Now in his sixth year in the league, Fox has yet be named to the All-Star team even once despite having some stellar numbers. However, it was at least fair since the Kings played abysmally for the entirety of his career. But this year, the Kings are a legitimate playoff contender and are competing at a very high level. No more excuses for him not to at least be in the top-10 of votes amongst 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 accumulated a similar fanbase over the last 10 years due to their high level of success. There are now millions of casual Warriors fans that couldn’t name the team’s head coach before Steve Kerr took the helm. And like the Lakers fans, the Warriors fans overwhelming numbers equate 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, is simply not 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 is averaging 6.7 points, 8.4 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game on the ninth seed in the West. He is a good rebounder and had some stellar moments in the Finals last year. But on a typical night, he’s just average.

Then there’s Sabonis. Arguably a top-three 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 fractured 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.

The bottom line, players shouldn’t get penalized or rewarded strictly because they play for a certain team. Players should become an All-Star because they deserve it and are performing at a higher level than their peers.

This is just the first set of voting numbers we will see and there is still a significant amount of time left 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 on that level. Something we’ve only seen three times since 2005.

So I urge all of my fellow Kings fans to get out there vote your ass off. Let’s give our stars the same effort they give us every night on the court.