Had the Raptors been in a better position within the Eastern Conference last season, VanVleet may have gotten the call for his first All-Star appearance. Fast forward to 2022 and the point guard is in the midst of his best season and is once again vying to play in the NBA's All-Star Game.
IMMAN ADAN: But speaking of Fred VanVleet who is just spectacular and I love him. And so great. The all-star vote returns have come back. Now before we talk about Fred VanVleet's chance of becoming an all-star, what are your thoughts on those returns?
YASMIN DUALE: I wasn't too surprised. There are a couple of that left me kind of perplexed. I think that's the LaMarcus Aldridge. The Derrick Rose left me confused.
IMMAN ADAN: Timeout.
YASMIN DUALE: Kyrie.
IMMAN ADAN: Derrick Rose I get. Derrick Rose and Kyrie I get. Like, I don't like it, but--
YASMIN DUALE: Yeah, they had--
IMMAN ADAN: --I get it, right?
YASMIN DUALE: --it against all the fanbases.
IMMAN ADAN: Yao Ming literally led all-star votes when he basically retired, right? Kobe Bryant was out for an entire year and still led. I'm saying like-- when I say led, I don't mean like, oh yeah, he was in the top 10. No, no, no, number one vote getter as someone who was injured for an entire year.
I get it for guys with big fanbases. Don't like it for Derrick Rose. But he's a former MVP, and it's always going to be there. And he plays for the biggest market in sports, regardless of how good they are. And they seem to gravitate towards him--
YASMIN DUALE: LaMarcus though?
IMMAN ADAN: --because he's-- that's the thing that gets me. Does New York care about Brooklyn? What? LaMarcus wasn't getting votes when LaMarcus was LaMarcus, right? Even when--
YASMIN DUALE: Yeah, like--
IMMAN ADAN: --he was at the height of his career, he was not like, oh yeah, that's an all-star starter. No, that was like, oh yeah, he's there. Yeah. Yeah, we put him--
YASMIN DUALE: It's fishy.
IMMAN ADAN: --in there.
YASMIN DUALE: Something fishy is happening. I don't--
IMMAN ADAN: How does have more votes--
YASMIN DUALE: I am insinuating.
IMMAN ADAN: --than Fred? Thank you. My timeline is Fred, Fred, Fred, Fred, Fred. Fred,
YASMIN DUALE: Oh my God, even the NBA accounts are tweeting about Fred.
IMMAN ADAN: Fred, Fred, Fred. It's all Fred stuff, and LaMarcus Aldridge has more votes than he does? Also, DeMar DeRozan has played power forward and small forward like--
YASMIN DUALE: For years.
IMMAN ADAN: --for 90% of the time and has played small forward in the minutes that he hasn't played power. What is he doing as a guard on that? I'm so confused at the breakdown of that.
YASMIN DUALE: You could tell it's in order to make space for all the frontcourt players they want to include. And I don't know, I feel like--
IMMAN ADAN: The East feels guard-heavy, does it not?
YASMIN DUALE: Not really. If Fred VanVleet and Darius Garland are able to sneak into that top 10, it's not too dense. I feel like-- Vucevic, I feel like, was the only frontcourt player where I'm like, eh, you know, he's not gonna be an all-star. But whatever. But, yeah, there were a lot of question marks in the East for guard that I did not understand. But I wasn't too shocked by Fred VanVleet's vote. I feel like a lot of Raptors fans are probably still voting for Lowry and DeRozan, which is kind of strategically shooting yourself in the foot. But do what you want. But--
IMMAN ADAN: See, I didn't know that voting for DeRozan would be. I thought that he would be a forward.
YASMIN DUALE: Yeah, it's not even their fault. But also, yeah, I wasn't too shocked by Fred VanVleet's vote. I was happy he snuck in. I honestly didn't think it would show initially, even though I kept seeing the tweets mentioning him getting thousands of retweets on the timeline every single day. But I--
IMMAN ADAN: I'm with you. There's something fishy going on. We need an investigation. Dishes and Dimes, get on it.
YASMIN DUALE: Dishes is on it. But, yeah, I wasn't too shocked--
IMMAN ADAN: Dishes and Crimes.
YASMIN DUALE: Yeah, I was just happy he appeared on the ballot. But, yeah, it's kind of strange. I feel like also the Raptors have just kind of started rolling recently. So I know that even like-- yeah, it's hard to vote--
IMMAN ADAN: You're probably right.
YASMIN DUALE: --for your own team even if your team sucks. It's difficult.
IMMAN ADAN: You're probably right.
YASMIN DUALE: Yeah, so I feel like we'll see what the second return says, especially as they've been rolling. And I'm sure--
IMMAN ADAN: Let me tell you, Kyle Lowry, that first time that he made it as a starter-- now I don't think that Fred VanVleet is gonna make it as a starter this year.
YASMIN DUALE: Yeah, he's not.
IMMAN ADAN: I think he's gonna make it--
YASMIN DUALE: Unless Drake--
IMMAN ADAN: --as a reserve.
YASMIN DUALE: --starts tweeting about it.
IMMAN ADAN: Unless Justin Bieber and Drake put a tweet out. But if you remember when Kyle Lowry made it as a starter the first time, the returns came out and he was way back. And Kyrie and probably Rose and everybody else-- Rose might have been playing in the West. Who knows? Who can keep up with his career? But it just felt like a lot of the big names were ahead of him, and Raptor fans made a push like I've never seen.
And Matt Devlin is doing it on calls. He says Fred VanVleet, hashtag NBA all-star. He calls him one every time Fred makes a play. So I feel like there's gonna be a little bit of a push. Feel like we're gonna see a bump in that second return. I think your point about the Raptors just sort of starting to roll recently is probably correct. Because I forgot that like-- maybe it's recency bias for me where I'm like, OK, the last week, I've just seen Fred VanVleet, whereas maybe the week before that it wasn't the case.
YASMIN DUALE: That is true. Yeah, I feel like his campaign started very recently, started to get that huge push in the last week or two. So I don't know how long-- oh, voting has been open.
IMMAN ADAN: But when was LaMarcus Aldridge's push? That's my question.
YASMIN DUALE: I do not know. I feel like maybe they should start adding some rules to this.
IMMAN ADAN: I mean--
YASMIN DUALE: Maybe--
IMMAN ADAN: --they have rules. Because now it's not--
YASMIN DUALE: More.
IMMAN ADAN: --gonna be fan voting.
YASMIN DUALE: More of these rules.
IMMAN ADAN: It's not gonna be just--
YASMIN DUALE: It's not enough.
IMMAN ADAN: --fan voting. They're gonna have media. So it doesn't matter how many times you vote for Derrick Rose, he will not be an all-star.
YASMIN DUALE: Yeah.
IMMAN ADAN: Not in our Lord 2022. I don't even know what the saying is. I don't know how to say it. Not in 2022.
YASMIN DUALE: What do you think is-- I feel like Fred has a great chance with the coach's decisions to--
IMMAN ADAN: Yeah.
YASMIN DUALE: --select. I feel like he's kind of-- if it's between him and Garland, I'm comfortable with Fred's chances. I just feel like he's a veteran. There's more awareness about him. He has playoff moments.
IMMAN ADAN: He's got a--
YASMIN DUALE: I feel like he's--
IMMAN ADAN: --great narrative. He's got a great narrative. He's got a great narrative.
YASMIN DUALE: Yeah, he has a great narrative. People love that story.
IMMAN ADAN: If the Raptors surpass the Cavs in the standings, justifying the Cavs having multiple all-stars-- because Jarrett Allen will be an all-star this year-- it just won't make sense when the Raptors won't have any. And I think that that's going to play a part.
Because when coaches think about, oh, we're playing the Cavs, they're thinking about that seven-foot behemoth, seven-foot behemoth, and seven-foot behemoth that they're going to have to play. Yes, they're thinking about Darius Garland as well, but they're really gonna focus first on, OK, well, how are we gonna score on the triple twin towers that we have going on?
YASMIN DUALE: Yeah.
IMMAN ADAN: Whereas when you're playing the Raptors, you start being like--
YASMIN DUALE: It's Fred
IMMAN ADAN: --it's Fred. We have to figure Fred out first, and then we sort of move on from there. And so I think that that's gonna give Fred VanVleet the edge as well.
YASMIN DUALE: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, I just think--
IMMAN ADAN: I love how I just made Lauri Markkanen a good defender in my quest
YASMIN DUALE: Yeah.
IMMAN ADAN: --to take votes away from Darius Garland, Like they're worried about Lauri Markkanen.
YASMIN DUALE: Coaches are super kind of backwards. They'll just go with, I feel like, the name they recognize more, the name that comes up more--
IMMAN ADAN: Like when Joe Johnson--
YASMIN DUALE: The name that comes up more on the scouting reports, they'll go with. Fred is always gonna be at the top of their scouting reports. and then it's gonna be--
IMMAN ADAN: And they like vets. They like vets. We saw it. Kyle Lowry snuck in one year where I was like, Kyle is an all-star? OK, Kyle is an all-star.
YASMIN DUALE: What year was it? Was it 2018-2019--
IMMAN ADAN: No, no, no.
YASMIN DUALE: --where he was at like 14 points per game?
IMMAN ADAN: I think it was 2019-2020 because remember he turned it on really in that like-- oh, no, he turned it on in December of that year. Maybe it was '20. Yeah, it was.
YASMIN DUALE: Yeah, that year where--
IMMAN ADAN: It was the finals year.
YASMIN DUALE: The Raptors were probably number one in the conference or something.
IMMAN ADAN: It was the finals year. The Raptors were-- yes, and it was Kawhi and Kyle. And you were like, oh, OK. Pascal got it the year after. I was all for it just because, you know what, they stole one from Kyle Lowry in his first year because they gave it to Joe Johnson who was--
YASMIN DUALE: And he stole one too.
IMMAN ADAN: --the vet.
YASMIN DUALE: That was veteran privilege right there.
IMMAN ADAN: And that's what happened, so we're hoping that that happens for Fred VanVleet. He's also got a great story, a great narrative. People love that. And, yeah, he is who you have to gameplan for when you play the Raptors. And Darius Garland is so much fun. He's great. He will be an all-star in his career, knock on wood that he stays healthy because--
YASMIN DUALE: No question.
IMMAN ADAN: --I mean, what's happening to the Cavs is really sad. But he's so fun and he's so good, like he's so good. I just feel like the edge goes to Fred VanVleet because Fred VanVleet has just been phenomenal this year. There's no doubt in my mind that he's not an all-star.
And we're seeing the propaganda. You know the propaganda is real when you see a tweet, and it doesn't say Canada at the end but it's just the American version of a sports media empire. So you're like, yeah, OK.
YASMIN DUALE: Oh, yeah. Yeah, they've been pitching it.
IMMAN ADAN: ESPN's on it. NBA is on it
YASMIN DUALE: Yeah.
IMMAN ADAN: So yeah.