The NBA season is well underway and with it trends and surprises abound. Which trends will last, which will fade? What hot start will dissipate and which slow-to-go star will pick it back-up?
Every month I'll attempt to answer any and every question submitted for our mailbag. Have a question you want answered for the next edition, send them any time via Twitter!
With All-Star totals coming out this Thursday, we asked readers to send in questions with the event in mind. Thank you to everyone who reached out with a question this month.
Liz asks: Who are the top five Canadian players in terms of total All-Star votes in NBA history?
Sadly, only two Canadian's have made the All-Star Game to date, with Steve Nash leading the way with a total of 10,458,675 votes in his career. For perspective, that's about four million more votes than Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal party secured in the last election.
Jamaal Magloire received 236,448 votes in 2004 when he made his one and only appearance in the All-Star Game. Staying with the election theme, that's about four hundred thousand less than the Green Party received in the last Canadian election.
NBA News Pass asks: Should Bradley Beal be an All-Star starter?
Let's lock Kyrie Irving in. He's been the best guard in the East this season and his team has a quality record. That leaves one guard spot.
The obvious choice coming into year was Victor Oladipo, who was both All-NBA and All-Defense last season. However, Dipo has been hurt, missed time and not been the same player he was last season.
Next, you have to look at Kyle Lowry, whose Toronto Raptors have the second-best record in the NBA. But like Oladipo, he's struggled to stay healthy and at his best this season.
Kemba Walker started off hot and his team is currently in the playoff picture, but he's cooled way off from the torrid pace he started the campaign with.
With that in mind, I think Ben Simmons is the play here. If the Washington Wizards were in the playoff picture, we could push for Beal. But despite the very real flaws of Simmons, his team is 14 games over .500 and he's been a huge part of that at both ends.
Keith asks: Should the All-Star roster expand to 13 to mirror the number of players allowed to be active for a regular game?
I'd love for the game to expand to 13-man rosters. With all the talent in the league, the regular snub would get their perhaps one and only invitation to the spectacle.
In fact, I'd love for them to expand it to 13, plus a legend spot. So 13 All-Stars per side and then one spot for retirement tour players like Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Vince Carter, Dirk Nowitzki, etc.
For those who are saying, "Josh, why not 15?" You can't send guys to the game and not play them, rotations are already long in the exhibition. I think 13 is optimal.
Micah asks: If they added a one-on-one contest to All-Star Saturday with the caveat being it's straight 1s, no rebounding (so one shot and done, no volleyball off the backboard) and make-it-take-it to 11, what's the final four and who wins?
Everything being one is really throwing me for a loop. Does that eliminate Stephen Curry, who gives up his biggest advantage against every bigger and slower defender he faces?
I think LeBron James is a definite in, Kevin Durant is a definite in, the rules help Giannis Antetokounmpo, so he's in. I'll say Kawhi Leonard for the fourth spot - he might be the strongest three in the league and can defend anybody else listed.
James outplays Durant with no other Warriors or confused teammates to derail the effort.
Leonard's shot gives him the edge over Antetokounmpo.
The younger Leonard bests James in an extremely physical final bout.
Aleks asks: Can Mike Conley get in? I get there are more deserving players, but at some point, he just has to get in, right?
Sorry Aleks, Conley isn't getting in this year and given where the Memphis Grizzlies sit, the years of him making the honorary snub list might also have faded away.
Heck, will he still be a Grizzly come All-Star Weekend?
Bryan asks: How many All-Stars will the Golden State Warriors have this year?
Without a record that laps the field, a slow start for Klay Thompson and a down campaign for Draymond Green, I think the answer is two.
MORE: Do the Warriors deserve more All-Stars?
However, I wouldn't be shocked if the coaches vote Thompson in for a fifth straight year. The Warriors are picking up wins at the right time and Thompson's excellence within his role is a coaches dream.
Dale asks: Top three surprises and snubs you think will happen for this year's All-Star Game and do we actually get the All-Star draft televised this year?
So far, the top three surprises are without a doubt: Luka Doncic being number three in total votes, Derrick Rose still having a fanbase of this magnitude and no Eastern Conference Guard standing out other than Irving.
The big snub this year might be LaMarcus Aldridge, who has quietly done his job for a San Antonio team that wasn't supposed to be this good. It's unlikely the Spurs receive two All-Stars and DeMar DeRozan is the flashier name.
You do get a televised draft! Thursday, Feb. 7 on TNT at 7 PM ET.
Johnny asks: Where does Doncic's popularity rank in comparison to previous rookies?
He's up there. Playing overseas built him a base of international fans no other player has seen since Yao Ming. Using All-Star votes as a measurement, Doncic is at 3,301,825 votes before the final reveal. Rookie LeBron James had 768,532 votes.
MORE: Doncic is even getting more votes than rookie Jordan
This is a record year for NBA voting but Doncic's total looks to already be the third highest total of all-time, not just for rookies.
Dak Attack asks: Do you think Derrick Rose gets in?
I don't think he should. It's crazy that people are simultaneously pushing James Harden for the MVP award as he trails Rose for a starting spot.
That said, I think the players share the fans enthusiasm for Rose's resurgence and if they commit to voting for him, the 25 percent allocation of media votes might not be enough to stop it.
Jackson asks: Who's the one guy who's never been an All-Star before that has a legit case this year that you want to see make it?
Nikola Jokic. He's a pretty safe lock but he's a guy I'm excited to see get in. I don't think the average fan has gotten a good long look at Jokic and watching him pass in a zero-defense game could be special.
As Nowitzki fades out of the league, the obvious heir apparent for best euro is Doncic, but Jokic should very much also be in that spotlight.
Haasman asks: What Canadian player is most likely to start an All-Star Game in the future?
I'm going to go out on a limb and say R.J. Barrett. Jamal Murray doesn't feel too far off, but the Western Conference is stacked and he's still a jump away from getting genuine consideration.
Let's assume Barrett ends up in the Eastern Conference, where four of the five worst records currently stand: Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland or New York. The path to an Eastern Conference All-Star appearance is easier and he's got the physical tools to be a game changer for a team day one.
Deven asks: How about experimenting with a 4-point shot, but only in the final five minutes of the fourth quarter? Players would have to be behind the hashmark area to count it as a four. Thoughts?
I really, really don't want a 4-point shot in the NBA. I'm a lover of the spacing the 3-ball and pacing the current NBA provides but too much of a good thing is no longer a good thing.
If you're asking about the All-Star Game specifically, it's for sure worth a shot. Pun intended.
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