NBA All-Star Fan Voting vs. Player Value (VORP): Who really deserves to be an All-Star Starter?

NBA All-Star Fan Voting vs.

Player Value (VORP): Who really deserves to be an All-Star Starter?David PetersonBlockedUnblockFollowFollowingJan 15As a follow-up to my post earlier this month, which compared leading All-Star vote recipients across in-game metrics such as Win Shares and Minutes Played, I’m writing today about which players (based on NBA’s reported fan voting returns from January 10th) are currently projected to be All-Star snubs and which might not be the most deserving of an All-Star starting spot.

For this report, I’ll compare players’ fan voting with their VORP, or Value Over Replacement Player (definition below), which is a helpful advanced metric to estimate each player’s value to their team.

There is no one metric that gives a complete understanding of a player’s value, but VORP offers a good indication.

Note that fan voting accounts for 50% of the process.

The remaining 50% of the weighted All-Star votes are delegated to NBA players and the media.

This rule change was made a couple years ago to help the most-deserving players receive the honor of being an All-Star starter, but once again, the fan vote still makes up a substantial proportion of the weighted vote.

I’ll take a look at the four All-Star voting sections (Eastern Conference Guards, Eastern Conference Frontcourt, Western Conference Guards, and Western Conference Frontcourt) across the following metrics:- Value over Replacement Player (VORP): VORP is defined by Basketball Reference as a measure to estimate each player’s overall contribution to the team, measured vs.

what a theoretical “replacement player” would provide, where the “replacement player” is defined as a player on minimum salary or not a normal member of a team’s rotation.

– Rank of VORP: Each player is ranked by VORP, from high-to-low to determine which player has the highest VORP.

– Minutes Played: Minutes played during the current season (up to January 11th, 2019).

– All-Star Votes:o Bars colored in green indicate players that are currently in a position to be an All-Star starter based on fan voting.

o Orange bars: players that rank within the top 6 of fan votes for their position group but are not currently in a position to be a starter.

Eastern Conference GuardsProjected All-Star Starters (Based on Fan Voting)The projected starting guards for the East are polar opposites with regards to their VORP.

Kyrie Irving’s 2.

6 VORP is an impressive .

5 higher than the next closest Eastern Conference guard and clearly earns his place to start the game.

On the other hand, future Hall-of-Famer Dwayne Wade manages a meager .

1 VORP, good for only 39th, yet his legacy has boosted his voting numbers into the top 2.

Who Should be Starting (Based on VORP)While I don’t blame fans for being sentimental, Ben Simmons deserves to be a starter alongside Irving based on his 2.


He sits among the top 6 in fan voting but trails Dwayne Wade in votes for that 2nd starting spot.

On the BubbleKemba Walker’s season ranks 3rd best in VORP and is among the top 6 in voting, but he’ll need to make up ground with the media and his fellow players if he wants to start in the big game.

Eastern Conference FrontcourtProjected All-Star Starters (Based on Fan Voting)Giannis Antetokounmpo, aka the Greek Freak, crushes the Eastern Conference frontcourt field in with a position-leading 3.

8 VORP, 1 higher than the second-place finisher.

Kawhi Leonard and Joel Embiid own the 4th and 5th highest VORPs, respectively, but find themselves currently in starting position due to being among the top 3 in fan voting.

Who Should be Starting (Based on VORP)Based on VORP alone, Giannis should be joined in the starting lineup by Nikola Vucevic and Blake Griffin.

Despite having the second-best VORP, Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic hasn’t even cracked the top 6 in fan voting, making an All-Star starting spot improbable.

Blake Griffin has revolutionized his game by adding an increasingly effective 3 point shot and has embraced his leading role in his new home and produced the 3rd highest VORP, but currently sits outside of the top 3 in fan voting.

Other Players of NoteJayson Tatum’s sophomore season, while not bad by any means, has shown a decline in productivity from his sensational rookie year.

His VORP is currently sitting at .

6 and is currently way off-pace to when he finished with a VORP of 1.

8 last season.

Despite being ranked 30th in frontcourt player VORP, he is currently in the top 6 for voting.

Vince Carter owns a 0.

0 VORP in only 660 minutes of play but is still among the frontcourt leaders.

Western Conference Frontcourt PlayersProjected All-Star Starters (Based on Fan Voting):As witnessed by their struggles during his absence due to injury, it’s easy to see LeBron James’s importance to a Lakers team that has failed to make the playoffs for years.

However, particularly due to the aforementioned injury time, LeBron finds himself with the 3rd highest VORP.

Still, it’s no surprise to see that the King leads fan voting, again.

Paul George has the second-most votes among Western frontcourt players.

He’s been instrumental to OKC’s success, even in the face of Westbrook’s poor shooting, but George only has the 5th highest VORP.

In 13th is Luka Doncic, which despite being a standout for Rookie of the Year, doesn’t have an All-Star level VORP, yet.

However, the fans are excited about Doncic, who is already showing Dallas what to expect for years to come, and he currently is holding onto a top-3 spot in fan voting, putting him in a good position to start in the All-Star game.

Who Should be Starting (Based on VORP)In addition to James, Anthony Davis and Nikola Jokic belong on the court at tipoff.

Superstar, and potential trade target, Anthony Davis leads all frontcourt players with a 4.


The teams are struggling to stay afloat in a loaded Western Conference, but Anthony Davis’s ridiculous level of play is still keeping the Pelicans within a few games of the 8th seed.

He is among the top 6 in fan votes, but not the top three, and will need help to get that starting spot.

Nikola Jokic of the Nuggets has the 2nd highest VORP but isn’t even in the top 6 in fan voting.

He plays for the West-leading Denver Nuggets, but this still isn’t enough to get him the deserved attention from the fans.

Western Conference GuardsProjected All-Star Starters (Based on Fan Voting):Stephen Curry and Derrick Rose currently are set as the projected Western Conference starting forwards (based on current fan vote counts) despite owning the 4th and 16th best VORPs, respectively, and having played hundreds of few minutes than other elite guards this season.

Who Should be Starting (Based on VORP)James Harden’s legendary season-to-date and scorching 4.

4 VORP isn’t enough to make him an All-Star starter, and he’ll have to rely on the media and player vote if fan voting remains as it is.

Damian Lillard boasts the second highest VORP but is currently outside of the top 2 with regards to fan voting.

On the BubbleDespite Russell Westbrook’s historically bad shooting season, he still has the 3rd highest VORP, showing his positive impact on the court.

He’s in the top 6 in fan voting, but not the top two.

Other Players of NotePast-season popularity for Klay Thompson has carried into the top 6 in votes despite having the 65th highest VORP, an astounding -.


Thank you for reading my latest data post.

Click here for my first NBA All-Star post, comparing All-Star votes to minutes played and win share.

Stay tuned for my follow-up post, where I’ll take a look which deserving players currently find themselves on the outside looking in.

As a product marketing and data analytics professional, I have a passion for data-backed storytelling.

These data journalism posts are my way of integrating real data with my personal diverse interests, which include anything from travel and entertainment to economic and societal issues.

 If you have any comments, story ideas, or prospective data projects, please feel free to email me at dwpwriting <at> gmail <dot> com, visit my website at dwpeterson.

com, or contact me on LinkedIn.


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