The NBA changed the All-Star voting process two years ago, in part to prevent Zaza Pachulia being elected a starter.
Instead, it might keep Dwyane Wade from being one — again. Luka Doncic and Derrick Rose, too.
Entering the last full week of balloting, Wade would be in a good position for a farewell All-Star start under the old system, which was solely dependent on fan votes. He’s running second among Eastern Conference guards, with a sizeable gap to No. 3 Kemba Walker after the second set of returns were released last week.
Doncic is second among West forwards in a bid to start as a rookie, and Rose is ahead of MVP James Harden in the second spot in the West backcourt.
But fan vote is now just 50 percent of the process, a change that was made after Pachulia was undeservedly nearly elected a starter through a huge overseas push in 2016. The players’ vote and a media panel each account for 25 percent, and in its first year it did stop Pachulia, who would have been elected to start by fans in 2017. So would have Wade, who was a perennial starter in the previous system.
The revamped process might keep him home again. And it might delay a Doncic selection that seems inevitable, but may have to wait.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr was reminded Sunday that he said Doncic should be an All-Star — though even with his performance as a rookie it’s hard to think he should be ahead of players such as Kevin Durant and Anthony Davis.
“I do have a vote for reserves. I think what I meant to say is he sure looks like an All-Star,” Kerr said. “Whether he makes it or not, he’s an All-Star. Certain guys just stand out. You see what they do, you see what they mean to the game. If he doesn’t make it this year, he’s going to make it soon enough.”
Voting continues through the end of the day on Jan. 21.