In what may be considered a bit of an eyebrow-raiser, the NBA released their All-Star ballot today and Yi Jianlian was not included as a potential selection (hat tip NetsDaily for noticing).
This is defintely a curious development as Yi, who will likely miss the next month with a knee sprain, gained 1.8 million votes last year and finished third at the forward position on the Eastern Conference ballot. With Yao Ming expected to miss the entire season, Yi is China’s only marketable “star” playing in the NBA this season. While he certainly didn’t put up All-Star numbers last season, and wasn’t really on pace to before his injury this season, you would think in it’s efforts to be an international brand, the NBA would have kept Yi on there, even if there was potential for him to undeservedly start because of some ballot-stuffing. It’s the price you pay for opening your league to players from the world’s most populated country.
As it stands, the only Nets on the ballot this season are Devin Harris, Brook Lopez and Courtney Lee. If Yi, or any other Net is going to get voted into the All-Star game, they’re going to have to be written in.
Update: The Nets aren’t the only team with key players missing from the ballot. Over at Bulls Confidential, Mark Deeks notices that Joakim Noah, who in the early-going is averaging 11.3 points and 11 rebounds, was also snubbed from the ballot, though Bulls fans desperate to get one of their bigs on the team, have Brad Miller as a choice.