With all of the talk of Jeremy Lin, especially the size of his fan base amongst the Asian American and Chinese communities, I thought there might be a pretty decent chance he could be voted in as an all star starter next year. This would mean, of course, bumping either Derrick Rose or Dwayne Wade. Note that I am not saying Jeremy Lin SHOULD be an All Star over either player, but that he could potentially take advantage of the system voting in the top two vote getters at guard, regardless of their level of play during the course of the season.
First, let's look at the numbers of votes that Wade and Rose have gotten in the last 2 years since both have been starters for the game:
It looks like Lin would need somewhere in the neighborhood of 1.4 million votes to be a lock. Now let's see how voting in China, with a population of 1.3 billion, has typically inflated All Star Starter numbers.Of course, the best example to use here is Yao Ming. Yao holds the record for most all star votes with 2,557,278 in 2005. He also has the 2nd and 4th highest totals in history, each time receiving over 2.45 million votes.
While Yao was a fantastic player and a deserving all-star for the most part, this has not always been the case. Indeed, support from China seems to be the main reasons he was voted in 2007 as a starter with 2,451,718 votes while only playing in 27 games and again as a starter in 2011 with 1,146,426 votes after playing 0 games! He was also voted in as the All Star starter in his rookie season in which he averaged 13.5/8.2 over Shaq when Shaq was coming off 3 straight All Star MVPs.
It's clear that popularity trumps skill in the case of some of Yao's All Star appearances. Jeremy Lin probably isn't getting into the All Star game via the coach vote; Does the China effect give him a chance to possibly oust Derrick Rose or Dwayne Wade via the fan vote though in 2013?