Playing with Stephen Curry has many benefits: you get open looks, easy baskets, and you might get more popular due to association. Andrew Wiggins now has more All-Star votes than Draymond Green, Anthony Davis, and Rudy Gobert. You can’t tell us that it's only because of his improved performance and not Curry’s effect.
Does Wiggins deserve to be an All-Star?
All-Star games are popularity contests, and those who received enough votes get in, deserving or not. Andrew Wiggins now has a higher chance of playing in the All-Star game over 8-time All-Star AD, 3-time NBA champion Draymond, and 3-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert. All-Star games should be for players who are having an exceptional season. In this regard, should Wiggins make it?
This year, the former Rookie of the Year improved in major statistical categories with higher efficiency in field goals, higher 3-point conversion, and higher PER. He’s almost making his career average in points despite playing with Steph Curry and sharing the ball in the free-flowing system of the Warriors. The improved game did not escape Curry and batted for his teammate to make the All-Star in a post-game interview for NBC Sports.
“Don’t want to get too ahead of myself but No. 22 should be in Cleveland this year the way he’s hooping.”
If Wiggins continues to play well and the Warriors keep on winning, there’s a good chance we might see the two teammates in the All-Star game this year.
The case for making the All-Star
Are the All-Stars for deserving players or the most popular ones? Wiggins is not the first to benefit from a more popular or successful teammate. Mo Williams got in during the 08-09 season. He averaged 17.8 points that year but being teammates with LeBron James and winning in Cleveland played its part. Also, international fans would want to watch their representatives play. We saw how Zaza Pachulia almost got voted in. But was he deserving?
Aside from the international voting, there’s also the issue of games played. Klay Thompson is 4th in voting despite not playing a single game. Meanwhile, Kyrie Irving has played only one game and placed 6th in guards in Eastern Conference. Do they deserve to play All-Star games over Donovan Mitchell, Anthony Edwards, Fred Van Fleet, and all those guards behind them in the votes?
Changes should be made sooner than later. It was good that they made changes to how the games were played. The games looked competitive in the new format. Voting should also be changed. Players and general managers should have a say who goes to the All-Stars. There should also be a required minimum number of games played to qualify. Fans' votes should also have lesser power. If we truly want the All-Star games to be a win-win for players and fans, there must be a balance between popularity, availability, and performance.