Joel Embiid was seemingly inches from being an All-Star selection in his rookie season last year. This season, Ben Simmons is hoping to actually become the first rookie to make the squad since Blake Griffin. Today, the NBA offered up the first returns on the fan voting so far (good for 50% of the weighted value in deciding who starts the game). So far, Embiid is in, and Simmons is out.
The #NBAAllStar Voting First Returns for Eastern Conference players!— 2018 NBA All-Star (@NBAAllStar) January 4, 2018
VOTE NOW: https://t.co/UjbrNUQ7Vw pic.twitter.com/ltlmLAo6S9
As you can see there, Joel isn’t going to catch LeBron or Giannis, but Kristaps Porzingis can catch him. Those votes are important. On the guard side, Simmons is currently about 50,000 votes out of 2nd place (the team spot) and...uh...600,000 out of first. He’ll have a harder path. As we saw last season, fans are more willing to vote for a rookie than media and players (thought Simmons won’t have the “he missed two years and barely plays” tag that Embiid had), so if Simmons wants to start he’ll probably need that #2 spot to give him the bump. Also, if you vote for All-Stars today on the NBA app, votes count double for some insane reason, so go ahead and do that if you want.
The starters will be revealed January 18th, reserves (picked by NBA coaches) will be named January 23rd, and the rosters (as picked by team captains) will be unveiled on January 25th, all on NBA on TNT.