The NBA announced the 2023 All-Star starters on January 27th. Among them is former Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell. The name Jazz fans were hoping to hear announced, however, was Lauri Markkanen. Markkanen hopes to get his first All-Star bid this season, but climbing into the starting lineup is very difficult. His competition included the likes of LeBron James, Nikola Jokic, Anthony Davis, Domantas Sabonis, and Zion Williamson.
⭐️ THE 2023 NBA ALL-STAR GAME STARTERS ⭐️ pic.twitter.com/9NXxjaYfW0— ESPN (@espn) January 27, 2023
Three parties determine the voting for the All-Star starters. The fans account for 50% of the vote, while the media and players each account for 25%. The final results showed Markkanen in fifth place among Western Conference frontcourt players. LeBron James and Nikola Jokic were both widely expected to start, but the third spot was up for grabs. Williamson and Davis had missed many games this season, while Markkanen and Sabonis were very healthy. Unfortunately for Markkanen, the votes weren’t overly impacted by the missed games, and Williamson claimed the third starting spot.
Markkanen’s path to the All-Star game now goes through the Western Conference coaches, who will vote for the reserves. The coaches will select two guards, three frontcourt players, and two more players of any position from the Western Conference. Markkanen should be at the top of the frontcourt list, along with Sabonis. Anthony Davis, Jaren Jackson Jr., Paul George, and others will likely receive votes. The reserves will be announced on February 2nd.
The 2023 NBA All-Star Game reserves will be revealed by @NBAonTNT on Thursday, Feb. 2 at 7 p.m. ET.— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) January 27, 2023
Seven players will be named in each conference: two guards, three frontcourt players and two additional players at any position. NBA head coaches will select the reserves. pic.twitter.com/3UCCcGKBV0
The difference between an All-Star starting spot and a reserve spot is negligible in history. A player’s legacy is impacted just by the All-Star appearance itself.
Despite ultimately missing out on the starting lineup, Lauri Markkanen’s voting totals were historic for the Utah Jazz. With 1,642,052 votes, Markkanen set a new Utah Jazz record and destroyed the precedent of low voting totals for Utah Jazz players. While playing for Utah, Donovan Mitchell’s highest fan vote total was 928,911 (He received 4,440,133 votes this year for the Cavaliers). Rudy Gobert’s highest total was 767,505. The last time a Utah Jazz player received over one million fan votes was in 1997, when Karl Malone tallied 1,337,319 votes, and John Stockton received 1,127,250. The total voting numbers vary widely from year to year. The NBA continues to alter how votes are done, including adding double and triple voting days, which raise the numbers, so comparing vote totals year by year is not an exact science. Regardless, Markkanen’s popularity among fans, players, and media is something we haven’t seen from a Jazz player in a long time.
The BEST poster slams from Lauri Markkanen's career so far ️ pic.twitter.com/z4i9CuGTG0— NBA (@NBA) January 19, 2023
Voting totals via nba.com and basketball-reference.com