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Tyrese Haliburton's bid to be a first-time All-Star is in the coaches' hands
Haliburton finished in fifth among Eastern Conference guards after votes were tallied by fans, players and media.
The NBA unveiled the starters for the 2023 NBA All-Star game Thursday and, as expected, Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton was not part of that group.
That’s an elite group, the best of the best. So the fact that I’m even mentioning him among that group is an indication of his play and how he’s elevated the Pacers this season.
The fan vote accounted for 50% of the decision, players and media were worth 25% each.
Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks) and LeBron James (James) were the highest vote getters in each conference so they are the team captains. James received the most, more than 7.4 million.
And for the first time, there will be a live, televised draft of teams before the game rather than playing East vs. West. Before then, it’s about selecting the top 24 players.
East: Kyrie Irving, Donovan Mitchell, Jayson Tatum, Kevin Durant and Antetokounmpo.
West: Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, Zion Williamson, Nikola Jokic and James.
That’s 10 players. The other 14 will be voted on by the head coaches across the league — and then announced on Thursday, Feb. 2 on TNT’s pre-game show.
For each conference, they will vote on two guards, three frontcourt players and two wildcards to be reserves.
Haliburton’s competition for the two guard spots is Jaylen Brown and James Harden. He received about 25% of the fan votes the other two received, 653,123, compared to their more than two million. I think that speaks to Indiana being a small market, fans being less engaged and the team’s lack of national TV exposure.
Similarly, how many Pacers fans actually watched Haliburton previously in Sacramento?
I still believe it’s likely for Halibuton to be selected. I was even more sure of it a couple weeks ago, before he sat out with injuries and had the team sixth in the East. Including the New York game, where he exited early, the Pacers have dropped eight of their last nine games and they have two championship contenders up next, Milwaukee and Memphis.
So ultimately, it’ll be up to the head coaches.
The 72nd annual NBA All-Star game will be played at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City. Remember, Indy will host All-Star weekend NEXT year.
One more thing: Once again, some players demonstrated how poorly they are at voting for awards. Johnny Davis, a lottery pick who has barely played, received one vote to start in the All-Star game. So did Duane Washington Jr, Aaron Holiday, Keon Ellis and even Chet Holmgren, who hasn’t played in an NBA game yet.
Pacers receiving player votes: Haliburton (34), Turner (8), Hield (7), Mathurin (2), Smith (2); Duarte, McConnell, Jackson, Brissett, Johnson and Brown each received one.
What They Said:
Pacers coach Rick Carlisle: “I think the way he’s played has made a strong statement to everyone that’s watched him because he’s the motor, he’s the engine that drives our team. When people look at our team and talk about us being fun to watch, he’s the head of the snake when it comes to that. He sets the initial tone for that in a big way.”
Hawks coach Nate McMillan: “He’s having a really outstanding year. Studying the Pacers the last couple of days, he is the guy that is establishing their tempo over there.”
Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau: “They play fast and he’s a tough matchup given he can shoot, he’s got great vision and his size is a big plus. He can see over people.”
Nuggets coach Michael Malone: “Haliburton is a hell of a player.”