Randall Williams | Contributing Writer
Over the course of this NBA season, there have been many topics of discussion: A likely Golden State Warriors versus Cleveland Cavs championship battle for the third straight year, the budding rivalry between new Golden State Warriors’ forward Kevin Durant and his former friend, Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder and the MVP race.
To anyone that has watched the NBA this season, your MVP candidate pick has been primarily between two players: Russell Westbrook and James Harden of the Houston Rockets.
Approaching this year’s All-Star Break, the debate undoubtedly heated up between fans and the media.
However, in the midst of all of these discussions, another topic snuck up on NBA fans. When the All-Star starters were announced on January 19, the reaction was mixed to say the least.
Stephen Curry of the Warriors finished with 1,848,121 votes while Westbrook finished with 1,575,865 votes, sparking a huge controversy as to why Curry was voted to start the All-Star game over a player who is averaging a triple-double.
There is always a talk amongst fans on who should be starting and who shouldn’t as many see it as a significant honor meant for only the league’s absolute best.
During the 66th edition of the All-Star Game in New Orleans, the West defeated the East, 192-182 and the two dynamic guards put on a show. Curry finished with 21 points, six assists and four rebounds while the aggressive Westbrook led all bench scorers with 41 points and added seven assists and five rebounds.
Dominating the stat sheet is something Westbrook is used to. Throughout the 2016-17 season, Westbrook is leading the league in points, he is 12th in rebounding and third in assists.
Whereas Steph Curry is 10th in Scoring, 117th in rebounding, and 14th in assists. Statistically, it makes no sense as to why Westbrook is not starting and Curry is.
So, who is exactly to blame for this surprise? Well, you are, the fan.
Fans must understand the voting process, where 50 percent of the weight is toward fan vote, 25 percent is toward the media and the remaining 25 is for the players.
Westbrook finished with higher votes in both the media and the player categories but lost in the category that matters the most, fan votes. It is that simple. The fact of the matter is that Steph Curry is more popular.
The only question is Why?
Curry has consistently stayed in the top two Jersey sales the past three years. During the 2014-2015 season he was second to Lebron James, but the last two years he has been first. Another thing to note is the relatability between players and fans. We all know that NBA players are physical specimens, and standout compared to everyday people.
In regards to these two though, both are similar in size as they are both 6’3 and near 190 pounds. The difference is how they play the game by both their attributes and attitudes.
On the court Westbrook will continually attack you the entire game with amazing layups, rim-rattling dunks, mid range pull up jumpers, and annoyingly tight defense. Steph Curry has made a living on being able to knock down his sky high floaters, corner threes, and deep range buckets as well.
In the locker room and off the court, Westbrook And Curry again differ. Westbrook is more feisty and short tempered with reporters, where Curry is more relaxed and unbothered.
The one similarity these two superstars have is how they are approaching the game. Steph stated to Complex magazine on January 20 that there are “only two spots that you can fill. So unfortunately somebody was going to be left out. That’s how it goes. The fact I get to represent my team and be able to start is something I definitely appreciate.”
Typical Curry; humble and down to Earth. Westbrook also downplayed the subject to the media saying, “I don’t play to play in the All-Star [Game]…I play to become a better player and to win championships.”
In the grand scheme of this subject of discussion is not as big as people are making it. Fans should actually look at this as a positive. Competition is good and, if the All-Star game was any indication, fans should be ready for an exciting second half of the season.