January 04, 2018
He may have just missed out on his second shot at a Rookie of the Month award, but Ben Simmons is still in the mix for a potential all-star nod.
Granted, he'll still need help to lock up a spot among starters from the Eastern Conference before voting ends on Jan. 16. The first fan returns, released Thursday, have Simmons in fourth among Eastern Conference guards and 50,000 votes behind the Toronto Raptors' DeMar DeRozan for the second starting spot.
But Simmons' sister Olivia took to Twitter on Wednesday in an effort to boost his chances of becoming the first Australian-raised NBA player to make an all-star game.
"At 4 he said he wanted to play NBA. LET'S MAKE HIM AN ALL STAR," she wrote in a tweet that accompanied the #NBAVote and a cute video of a young and very small Simmons throwing down a two-handed slam on a preschool-sized hoop.
Simmons has played at an all-star level for the better part of his rookie campaign, averaging 16.9 points, 8.5 rebounds and 7.4 assists in 36 games.
Under a new format meant to help balance the popular vote against fielding players who deserve to start, fans are set to make up half of the vote, and players and about 75 media members will account for the other half.
NBA coaches will pick reserve players.
The format replaces the traditional East-West matchup. Instead, the two starters who receives the most votes in each conference will pick team rosters from a pool of players voted as starters and reserves.
Although the early returns for starters had Simmons on the outside looking in, teammate Joel Embiid sits in the third and final spot among forwards, more than 70,000 votes ahead of the New York Knicks' Kristaps Porzingis.
More on the new format can be found here.