LOS ANGELES — When the first returns on fan voting for the NBA All-Star game dropped, it was no surprise to see LeBron James and Anthony Davis among the leaders. What was something of a shock — and a demonstration of the sheer number of Lakers fans and the power they have — was seeing Alex Caruso and Dwight Howard also in the top 10 in their respective position groups.
Perhaps most notable was Caruso having more votes that Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker. While Caruso is a nice and helpful player for the Lakers, Booker is considered one of the best scorers in the league, something that couldn’t stop an army of Lakers fans trying to get their balding meme king and ace defender into the game.
“(That’s) the power of the Lakers’ fans. They’re very passionate about their players,” said Anthony Davis of the team getting four players into the first returns, and he would know, because he also saw the benefit of his move to L.A. in the tally.
Davis received 955,246 votes in the first count of the fan votes for the 2020 All-Star game this year, compared to the 605,417 he received on first tally of the 2019 version. This year he ranks second among frontcourt candidates in the West — trailing only James’ 1,020,851 — compared to the fourth spot he landed in last year. Some of that has to do with Luka Doncic being classified as a guard instead of a forward this year (he has the most votes of anyone, after all), and some of it can likely be chalked up to the Lakers (27-7) sitting as the top seed in the Western Conference, but it’s hard not to see a correlation between Davis’ move to L.A. and his massive jump in first return votes.
James actually has slightly less than he did last year at this point, but with Caruso and Howard making the ballot, we’re also seeing the power of playing for a good Lakers team — and the engaged legion of fans that brings — at work.
“To see Dwight in there, AC in there, obviously LeBron, myself, it’s good for all of us. Just as a team to see the success that we’ve been having, for our players to get the fruits of their labors (rewarded) and get some votes from our fans,” Davis said.
Lakers Head Coach Frank Vogel said he hadn’t seen the All-Star vote counts, but was similarly happy to see Caruso and Howard get recognized.
“All of our players are deserving of All-Star votes,” Vogel said with a smile. “Both those guys have had a great start to our season. Dwight was coming in on a non-guaranteed contract and just looking to fill a role, and he’s exceeded that greatly... Alex is an outstanding two-way player that’s really contributed to our success early on this season.”
Davis agrees, and couldn’t help but try and engage those same fans he was so impressed by to try and stump for all of his teammates to get the same recognition as Howard and Caruso.
“I’m happy for them and hopefully both of those two guys can make the team. Come on Laker Nation, let’s get the whole team in there,” Davis said.
While the whole team making it — or even Howard and Caruso getting in — is unlikely due to the media and players also each getting 25% of the vote, respectively, to pick the starters. Assistant coaches then vote on the reserves, and it’s probably unlikely Caruso or Howard will be chosen by any of those factions. Still, Davis said it was an honor just for all of them to be nominated.
“Our fans are good, and they’re all around the world. It’s good for us, I think it was good for Dwight and good for AC to also get those votes, two guys who might not be — well, besides AC, everybody loves AC — but for those two guys who might not get recognized as much in the Lakers organization, for them two to get votes it’s good for them,” Davis said, before being interrupted by LeBron calling to him from across the gym to wrap up his remarks so the two of them could get going.
“I’m talking about our teammates, bruh!” Davis snapped back with sarcasm. “We know you’re gonna have five million votes.”
James very well might reach that tally, but if Lakers fans do want to make sure that their impact on the vote is felt on James and the rest of the team — and to help Davis, Caruso, Howard and the rest of the team keep climbing — the process is really simple. All anyone interested in voting has to do is open their web browser, go to Google.com, search “NBA All Star Vote” and voila, there is a page that lets anyone vote once a day.
Or, to make it even easier, the Lakers tweeted this out:
And we here at Silver Screen and Roll would obviously never encourage voter fraud, but if some fans really want to make their impact felt, our own Ali Behpoornia came up with a pretty interesting strategy that we will present without further comment:
Me getting ready to go to the public library to vote Alex Caruso to the all-star game on every computer available pic.twitter.com/KwMmkyhdIn— Ali B (@ali_behpoornia) January 2, 2020
The All-Star game is on Feb. 16, but fans can vote on the starters until Jan. 20. More information on ways to vote can be found here.
All quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.