Early All-Star returns show fans still overrating Austin Reaves at Rockets' expense

Houston Rockets v Los Angeles Lakers
Houston Rockets v Los Angeles Lakers / Katelyn Mulcahy/GettyImages

The voting for the NBA's 2024 All-Star game has officially gotten underway, as the first fan voting return was released on Thursday by The Athletic's senior NBA insider Shams Charania.

Houston Rockets center Alperen Sengun is third among big men in the Western Conference, which bodes well for his chances of accomplishing a goal of his.

This is the good news.

On the other hand, Sengun's partner-in-crime, Fred VanVleet, may not be as fortunate, as the 2019 NBA champion didn't show up on the ballot among the top ten guards in the West. This would be understandable if there were legitimately ten guards in the conference who were having better seasons than him (thus far).

However, two of the names -Klay Thompson and Austin Reaves- are occupying spots that should go to the Rockets floor general. Thompson is understandable, as the fan vote is oftentimes a lifetime achievement award and the Golden State Warriors sharpshooter is a surefire lock for the Hall of Fame, whenever he hangs it up. 

Early All-Star voting shows looming snub for Rockets' Fred VanVleet.

Obviously this version of Thompson isn't deserving of All-Star consideration, but again, this happens quite regularly.

Reaves, on the other hand, has no argument over VanVleet. I mean absolutely zero argument.

VanVleet is averaging 17.5 points, 8.6 assists (career-best and fifth-best in the league), 40.3 percent shooting from deep on 7.6 attempts, 41 percent from the field, 86.7 percent from the free throw line, and ranks fourth among starting point guards in assist-to-turnover ratio.

All while leading the league in minutes. The Rockets have generally looked lost without VanVleet (and Sengun) on the floor.  Across the board, VanVleet has had a better season than the 2021-22 season in which he did make the All-Star game (20.3 points, 6.7 assists, 37.7 percent from deep on 9.9 attempts, 40.3 percent from the field, 87.4 percent from the free throw line).

Reaves, on the other hand, has been yanked out of the starting lineup by Lakers coach Darvin Ham and has failed to live up to the expectations that were placed on him. Just a few months ago, Reaves was viewed as a potential $100 million player in free agency.

Now, he's being floated as a potential trade candidate, as he's regressed in field goal percentage (48.1 percent this season vs. 52.9 percent last season), 3-point percentage (35.6 percent vs. 39.8 percent last season), and true shooting (61 percent vs 68.7 percent).

Not to mention effective field goal percentage and two-point percentage. 

Granted, he's still averaging a solid 15.3 points and 5 assists, and his true shooting splits are still good, even if they are lower than last season. However, he's an interchangeable role player for the Lakers, not a staple of what happens on the floor.

In no world should he be ahead of VanVleet in the All-Star voting, even if he does play for a much larger market team. Hopefully that corrects itself before February 18th, which is when the game is played.