It’s no big surprise, given the popularity contest that is NBA All-Star fan voting, but Nikola Vucevic didn’t fare so well on the first returns.
The NBA released the top-10 votegetters for each conference’s frontcourt and backcourt, and Vucevic didn’t crack the top 10 for the East’s frontcourt.
LeBron/Steph and Giannis/Kyrie lead the first returns of #NBAAllStar Voting 2019 presented by @Google!— 2019 NBA All-Star (@NBAAllStar) January 3, 2019
Vote on https://t.co/R6fBO5LSAS, the NBA App or by searching for your favorite player or team on Google.
Vote now! https://t.co/gcW4K59HC0 pic.twitter.com/JIZFyIC2Pu
Vucevic, in the midst of the best season of his eight-year career, is averaging personal-bests of 20.3 points and 3.6 assists, to go along with 11.8 rebounds (0.1 off his career-high). He is shooting a career-high 53.2 percent from the field, including 38.3 percent from three (also a career-high).
He is one of only six players in the league averaging 20-plus points and 10-plus rebounds per game, with the others being Anthony Davis, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid, Karl-Anthony Towns and Russell Westbrook.
His Player Efficiency Rating of 26.31 is sixth best in the league behind Davis, James Harden, Giannis, Kawhi Leonard and LeBron James, all of whom are among the top vote-getters.
For a look at Vucevic’s impressive advanced stats, click on this tweet and read the full thread...
Current top 30 players in the NBA this season, according to the AVERAGE OF THEIR RANKS in 8 catch-alls...— Andy Bailey (@AndrewDBailey) January 3, 2019
Total Points Added & Box +/-
Win Shares & Win Shares per 48 MIN
Real +/- Wins & Real +/-
Player Impact +/- Wins & Player Impact +/- pic.twitter.com/QHlCWuD3cn
And most importantly, he currently has the Magic a half-game out of the eighth spot in the East.
Given the history of fan voting, which always favors star players and big market teams, and the fact that it stands for 50 percent of the final vote, there was little chance that Vooch would be a starter. But with the numbers he has been posting, the national praise he has been receiving, and the Magic actually in playoff contention at this juncture, I thought he’d get a little more love from the fans than he has received so far. At least edge out Andre Drummond and Al Horford, never mind the struggling Gordon Hayward and Vince Carter (who I’ll allow for a lifetime achievement vote).
Either way, Vucevic’s play is impossible to ignore. When the reserves are selected, he will likely be one of them, giving Orlando it’s first All-Star since Dwight Howard.
Until then, voting is open through January 21.