Domantas Sabonis and De’Aaron Fox weren't named 2023 NBA All-Star Game starters despite support from the player and media votes.
The results were announced Thursday, and both Sabonis and Fox finished No. 6 overall at their positions. Sabonis was ranked fifth in the player vote and third in the media vote but was ninth in the fan vote among frontcourt players.
Fox was ranked fifth in both the player and media votes but was eighth in the fan vote.
The gap between the player rank and the fan and media ranks raises a few questions, but NBA head coaches will have the final say on who will be named an All-Star reserve, which will be announced on Feb. 2.
Based on the rankings alone, it should be a no-brainer.
Sabonis is leading the league in double-doubles (26), including a streak of 23 straight that ended Wednesday against the Toronto Raptors. The 6-foot-11 center is averaging 18.4 points on 60.6 percent shooting, 12.4 rebounds and 7.3 assists in 45 games this season. Not to mention he's been playing with an avulsion fracture in his right thumb.
When the starters were announced on NBA on TNT on Thursday, Charles Barkley said he would actually replace New Orleans Pelicans big man Zion Williamson with Sabonis or Utah Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen.
“I hope [Williamson] doesn’t take this the wrong way, but he’s missed too many games in my opinion,” Barkley said. “I would’ve went with Sabonis or Markkanen, that’s just my personal preference.
“I don’t think you can miss 20 games in the first half of the season, I just don’t think that’s fair.”
Fox is averaging 23.8 points on 50.8 percent shooting, 6.1 assists and 4.3 rebounds in 44 games this season.
He's the clear front-runner for the league's newly announced Clutch Player of the Year award. In crunch time, Fox leads the NBA in made baskets (44) while converting 60.3 percent of his shots. To note, Sacramento is 13-10 in clutch games this season.
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Together, the duo has made basketball in Sacramento exciting again. A new coach, a new team, a new culture and a beam that shoots to outer space -- this team is special. And it starts and ends with Sabonis and Fox.
These are the starters, with LeBron James being named the captain of the West and Giannis Antetokounmpo named the captain of the East.
Fans account for 50 percent of the total votes, with current players and media accounting for 25 percent each. One ballot consists of three frontcourt players and two guards from each conference.
The 14 reserves are made up of two guards, three frontcourt players and two wild cards per conference. The 72nd NBA All-Star Game will take place on Feb. 19 in Salt Lake City, Utah.