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Zaza - All-Star starter?

Published by Yoshi on 7th January - 16:26 (CET)
You might have already seen the first returns from the fan voting for the 2017 NBA All-Star starters, and you might have already choked on whatever you were eating at the time when realizing that Zaza Pachulia has the second most votes (439,675) among frontcourt players in the West, trailing only his fellow Warrior Kevin Durant. Not that I want to bring you back to painful memories of that choking experience, but to ask me not to comment on this result is like asking white people not to eat chicken. Yeah, I'm changing the stereotype, everyone loves chicken!

Zaza actually only has seven players ahead of him overall in fan votes, and we're not talking about any seven players here. It's the absolute elite of the basketball world with Curry, KD, Westbrook and Harden gaining more votes in the West and only James, Irving and Antetokounmpo in the East. You could put together two full All-Star teams with players receiving fewer votes than Zaza and still get a pretty damn good All-Star game going.

So how does a role playing center averaging 5.3 points and 5.7 rebounds on the season gather this many fan votes to the exhibition showcasing the ultimate superstars of the game?

Before we dive deeper into the answer to that question we should note that this is the second year in a row that Zaza gains popularity in the fan voting, as he in the 2016 voting gathered a total of 768,112 votes, trailing Kobe, KD and Kawhi in the West frontcourt who (thank god) snatched up the three starter positions while Zaza wasn't allowed within 5 miles of the All-Star venue without a note from his parents and a permit from Adam Silver. At the time Z-Pach was playing for the Dallas Mavericks, so while playing for the Golden State BandWagoners surely boosts his fan votes a bit, it can't be the full explanation.

Whenever an international player gains unexpected popularity in the fan voting, one might consider the Yi Jianlian theory, where every NBA fan back home and his grandma vote for their guy, allowing the less-than-mediocre Yi (8.6 PPG, 5.3 RPG) to gain over 1.8 million fan votes in the 2009 All-Star voting. While this theory more than holds up when talking about a Chinese player, it is hard to see that the 3.7 million people in Zaza's homeland of Georgia could rock the 2017 vote in such a way.

While hometown fans have generally appreciated Zaza's hustle wherever he has played, he can't even remotely be called a popular player in the NBA world overall, so again we ask ourselves; what the hell is going on?

Now, our Flagrant Flop legal crew has advised me to only present this as a theory, but in reality we all know what I'm about to say is 100% true:

Zaza Pachulia, born in the Soviet Union, "could be" a Russian spy and the same people who hacked various political targets to influence the US presidential election "might" also be hacking the NBA All-Star voting to get Zaza into the West lineup.

Boom! There you have it, folks, the only logical explanation to why this non-factor player is gaining traction in the voting. Remember where you heard it first when the CIA and FBI release their reports!

Luckily for us fans the NBA already thought of this after Zaza's near-entry into the starting lineup last year - only 14,000 fewer votes than Kawhi! - and adjusted the structure of the voting for 2017. For the first time ever we will now have players and media voting as well as fans, with fan voting accounting for 50% of the total, while player and media votes account for 25% each. This will ensure that Zaza, or any future spies, get nowhere near the starting lineup when all is said and done despite the best efforts by the "fans".

Your move, Kremlin!

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