While aging and injured stars often get voted into the game based on reputation, other players find themselves getting votes for different reasons. This year, Los Angeles Lakers guard Alex Caruso and Boston Celtics center Tacko Fall found themselves in this position.
All-Star voting gone wild
Fans voting is a staple of the All-Star Game. But voting can get hijacked, according to Bleacher Report. Fans who’ve followed the NBA for years may remember former NBA journeyman Zaza Pachulia getting close to the game.
With social media allowing players to become memes for many reasons, this can leak into events like the All-Star Game more easily than ever. Fall and Caruso represent this trend in 2020. With Caruso’s unique looks and Fall’s monstrous size, both found a way onto the All-Star radar whether they tried or not.
The Lakers’ Alex Caruso
Caruso is a valuable role player for the Los Angeles Lakers. He’s also become something else entirely due to internet fame. Often joked about for looking more like an electrician than an NBA player, this combined with his high-flying dunks and effortful play make him a folk hero among Lakers fans.
Caruso is currently averaging 5.5 points, two rebounds, and two assists on 40% shooting. He does a little bit of everything for the Lakers. As far as his status as a meme, Caruso embraces it and laughs when it’s brought up in interviews. Playing for such a high-profile team makes him a perfect candidate for unusual All-Star votes.
Fall has played in four games so far this season, but his numbers in those limited minutes have been impressive. Through his four appearances, he’s competed in five minutes per game and averaged four points and two rebounds per game. Most of his season has been in the G-League, where he’s had some great performances.
All of these may seem funny for a player with enough career games to count on one hand. But the 7-foot-5 giant has been on basketball fans’ radars since college. Fall towers over his competition, and his lanky build makes this even more noticeable on the court.
Fall might soon become a valuable NBA player, but his votes have been premature. Like Caruso, however, Fall has the novelty factor and meme factor to make him a perfect candidate for these ironic votes.
Did either potential All-Star make it?
Caruso finished with 1,284,932 votes. This was, according to USA Today, more than Russell Westbrook, Donovan Mitchell, Devin Booker, Ja Morant, and D’Angelo Russell. Unfortunately, it was fourth among guards, meaning his All-Star hopes are on hold.
Fall got 947,378 votes — more than several bona fide NBA stars. His votes only ranked sixth among Eastern Conference frontcourt players, so he’ll have to wait, too. With just 22 minutes under his belt, however, a season where he plays more may give him a chance to upset the All-Star Game.
At the end of the day, All-Star voting is up to the fans. Whether they want the true stars or the memes, all they need to do is vote. Perhaps, soon one will rise above the rest and make it into the game.
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