I just saw this, but the fourth returns from the NBA All-Star balloting was announced Thursday. It doesn’t look good for Monta Ellis’ All-Star chances.
The fourth and final update saw that Houston Rockets guard Tracy McGrady, who has totaled 47 minutes of playing time this season, still in the starting lineup. Ellis really needs Phoenix PG Steve Nash to be named a starter to have a legitimate chance.
Unfortunately for Ellis, McGrady’s lead increased despite the news that he’s all but done as a Rocket. Houston publicly acknowledged seeking a trade for McGrady after allowing him to leave the team. Still, the votes for McGrady are obviously pouring in from China even though Yao Ming isn’t even on the ballot.
The league announced the third returns on December 31 and McGrady had the second-most votes among guards in the Western Conference, behind Kobe Bryant. McGrady was 1,005 votes ahead of Nash. The fourth returns came out Jan. 7 and Mcgrady’s lead has more than doubled. He is now 2,375 votes ahead of Nash.
Both are more than a million votes behind Bryant. That seems kind of odd. Nash is widely beloved, and deservedly so. Considering he’s having a great season, you would think he would get more love from fans across America. But both Allen Iverson and Orlando’s Vince Carter have more votes though neither is having as great a year. In 2008, Nash finished with 1.17 million votes (last season, 677k).
The league will give no more updates. The starters will be announced on Jan. 21. The reserves will be announced a week later.
If McGrady is a starter, then Nash will take up one of the 2 spots reserved for guards. Portland’s Brandon Roy is likely to geth the other reserve guard spot. It is likely the coaches will use one of their two wild card spots to select a third reserve guard. But Ellis would be competing with New Orleans’ Chris Paul and Utah’s Deron Williams, to name a couple.
If Nash is voted in as a starter, then that frees up another spot for Ellis, as McGrady doesn’t stand a shot at being added as a reserve. So Brandon Roy gets on reserve spot and, say, Chris Paul gets the other. Monta stands as good a chance as Deron Williams or Denver’s Chauncey Billups to get one of the wild card spots.
Of course, even if McGrady is voted in, he could decline to participate (the honorable thing to do) or the league can step in and rule him out, as an injured player or something. (Certainly, after this season, there needs to be a minimum games rule that disqualifies players who are voted on despite not playing.) Then Ellis stands a chance at getting added on as an alternate if he’s not selected as a reserve.