The starting lineups for the 2014 All-Stars were announced on TNT tonight and, to little surprise, Blake Griffin was voted in by the fans as a starter for the Western Conference.
Chris Paul should have been joining his teammate, but Stephen Curry — who was behind Kobe Bryant and Paul in the first two ballot returns — passed Paul in the third ballot returns, and ended up passing Kobe and finishing fourth overall in voting, behind LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Paul George.
Though some may point to LaMarcus Aldridge and Roy Hibbert, respectively, as big snubs, Paul is clearly the biggest of all. At the time of his injury, Paul was statistically the third-best player in the game, and definitely the best guard. He’s expressed interest in playing in front of the city he played his first six seasons in, and should be healthy by the All-Star break, so that shouldn’t be an excuse.
Still, this is fan voting. Bryant was always going to be voted in, and Curry is as exciting of a guard as any (perhaps even more so than Paul). The Warriors have been the NBA’s darling the last two seasons, and the Clippers — behind only the Heat and Lakers — have rubbed a lot of fans the wrong way for whatever reason.
Paul will be voted in as a reserve, and with Bryant likely not playing, he’ll probably end up starting.
Joining Griffin in the West starting lineup is Durant, Kevin Love,Bryant and Curry. In perhaps the biggest surprise of the night, Love overtook Dwight Howard in the final days of voting.
For the Eastern Conference, the starters are LeBron, George, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Kyrie Irving.
Here is part of the official press release from Clippers.com:
The NBA announced today that Blake Griffin has been voted by the fans into the starting lineup for the Western Conference for the 2014 NBA All-Star Game. It is the third year for Griffin to make the starting lineup and the first time in three years the Clippers did not have both Chris Paul and Griffin in the starting lineup.
“I am honored to be selected a starter for the All-Star Game,” Griffin said. “It means a lot for it to come from the fans and I look forward to representing the Clippers in New Orleans.”
This is Griffin’s fourth All-Star game to participate in, he has been a starter three times and a reserve once.
Griffin leads the Clippers with 22.6 points to go along with 10.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 44 games (all starts). He ranks 4th in field goals made (368), 9th in scoring, 11th in rebounding and 15th in field goal percentage (.524) in the NBA this season.
The last Clippers player to start an All-Star Game before Griffin or Paul was World B. Free of the San Diego Clippers in 1980. The Clippers franchise has now been represented in the All-Star Game a total of 22 times by 11 different players (Blake Griffin- 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, Chris Paul – 2012, 2013, Chris Kaman – 2010, Elton Brand – 2002, 2006, Danny Manning – 1993,1994, Marques Johnson – 1986, Norm Nixon – 1985, World B. Free – 1980, Randy Smith – 1976, 1978, Bob McAdoo – 1974, 1975, 1976 and Bob Kauffman – 1971, 1972, 1973).
Griffin finished with 688,466 votes, he is joined in the frontcourt in the West with Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder (1,396,294) and Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves (661,246). The backcourt consists of Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors (1,047,281) and Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers (988,884).