Over the last decade-plus, Kentucky players have been no strangers to the NBA’s annual All-Star Weekend festivities. This year won’t be any different.
The first batch of fan votes for the 2022 NBA All-Star Game in Cleveland, OH was released on Thursday afternoon. The voting is divided into four, 10-player categories: Western Conference frontcourt, Western Conference guards, Eastern Conference frontcourt, and Eastern Conference guards.
Of the 40 players who made the first fan vote cut, five former Kentucky Wildcats made an appearance: Anthony Davis, Karl-Anthony Towns, Devin Booker, Bam Adebayo, and Tyler Herro.
Let’s break them down by their total number of fan votes. Davis is the lead vote-getter among all five one-time ‘Cats.
Western Conference frontcourt
No. 6; Anthony Davis (LAL): 592,281
No. 7; Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN): 474,794
Despite getting injured in the middle of December with a return timeline of four-six weeks, Davis is still the top BBNBA vote-getter. His 3-point percentage is at an all-time low (17.9 percent) but the rest of his numbers are impressive: 23.3 points, 9.9 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.2 steals, and 2.0 blocks per outing while shooting 52.1 percent (his highest since 2017-18).
But Towns has arguably played better basketball than Davis this season. He’s posting averages of 24.2 points, 9.4 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.0 steals, and 1.2 blocks per game on an elite shooting split of 50.8/42.4/82.7. Towns’ Minnesota Timberwolves are only a few games back of Davis’ Los Angeles Lakers, too. I feel confident in saying that one of these two will eventually make an All-Star roster, but it’s hard to tell right now which one it’ll be.
Western Conference guards
No. 5; Devin Booker (PHX): 338,526
Quietly, Booker is playing the best basketball of his career, particularly when it comes to shooting the ball. He’s up to 42.0 percent on 3-pointers (6.4 attempts per outing) this season, a significant jump from his previous career-high of 38.3 percent back in 2017-18. Booker’s overall scoring has actually taken a minor dip, but so have his turnovers. As a result, his Phoenix Suns are tied with the Golden State Warriors for the best record in basketball at 29-8. And oh yeah, Booker garnered just a few thousand more votes than his Suns backcourt teammate, Chris Paul.
One of Paul or Booker feels like a safe bet to make a roster.
Eastern Conference frontcourt
No. 7; Bam Adebayo (MIA): 141,693
Much like Davis, an injury has sidelined Adebayo for some time now. The Miami Heat center hasn’t played since Dec. 1 and could miss another two weeks, but he’s still going to have his shot at making a roster. Adebayo is averaging 18.7 points and 10.2 rebounds per game this season, both tying previous career-bests. The shooting figures have dropped a bit though. Unless he comes back in the next few games, it might be a tough road to making his second All-Star appearance.
Eastern Conference guards
No. 8; Tyler Herro (MIA): 122,224
The lone surprise name on this list, Herro also holds the fewest fan votes of all BBNBAers. That being said, he’s worthy of some All-Star buzz. Herro is splitting time as a starter and 6th Man, depending on how his Miami team is dealing with COVID-19 health and safety protocols at the time. But either way, he’s averaging a career-high 20.3 points per contest on 42.4 percent shooting overall and 38.2 percent from deep on over seven attempts in those outings. Herro’s a long shot to make his All-Star debut, but he’s on the trajectory to make it happen down the road.
Eight different NBA players have already hauled in over 1,000,000 fan votes: Steph Curry (overall leader: 2,584,623 votes), Kevin Durant (2,360,435 votes), Giannis Antetokounmpo (2,145,835), LeBron James (2,018,725), Nikola Jokic (1,649,809), DeMar DeRozan (1,487,598), Joel Embiid (1,236,060), and Paul George (1,072,591).
Fan voting ultimately accounts for 50 percent of all All-Star voting, so it matters quite a bit. There are still three weeks left to vote, however, which you can do by clicking the link here. The next batch of fan votes will be announced on Jan. 13 and Jan. 20 before the final reveal on Jan. 27.