EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Don’t be surprised if Lawrence Frank comes knocking on your door tonight to canvas votes for Devin Harris. Surprisingly, the Nets guard needs your help.
Don’t be surprised if Harris puts out a YouTube video to get your attention and get fans to vote for him for the All-Star Game.
The first returns of the All-Star balloting were announced today and the NBA’s fourth-leading scorer is tenth among Eastern Conference guards in the fans’ voting. Tenth?
Harris reaction was basically that: Tenth?
“I’m tenth?” he asked incredulously.
“Really?” Harris said. “That’s something. I’m tenth.”
Later, before walking away from the interview, unsolicited, Harris said, “Tenth?”
Yes, it’s ridiculous. It really is.
You never want to criticize the fans because they’re allowed to vote for who they want to see. The NBA wants that. But they probably shouldn’t weigh the fans’ vote as heavily as they do because it’s just a popularity contest and players who deserve recognition don’t get it.
Harris has been one of the best players in the East, if not the NBA. He’s averaging 24.8 points per game in a breakout season. Yet he’s behind Luke Ridnour, Jameer Nelson and Derrick Rose. I joked to Harris that Nets’ teammate Maurice Ager is ahead of him, too. It’s that absurd. (Sorry, Mo).
“Hey,” Harris said, “I don’t usually pay attention to a lot of that stuff but it is a little shocking. I don’t know. I’ll continue to do what I do and hopefully it gets better but it’s not something I’m really concerned with.”
If Harris continues to do what he’s been doing and the Nets keep winning, the coaches can’t keep Harris off the team. Harris has received 94,294 votes. To put it in perspective, his teammate, Yi Jianian, has more than 350,000 votes and is third among forwards. He’s getting plenty of on-line votes from China, obviously.
Harris isn’t getting the love you would expect from Jersey, Dallas (where he played before) or Milwaukee, which is where he is from. We know the Nets don’t get big crowds, but fans can vote on line.
Harris is about 530,000 votes behind leader Dwayne Wade and 398,000 behind Allen Iverson. This is where Frank comes in.
“Maybe I’ve got to get on the computer later tonight and give Devin — how many hundred-thousand votes does he need?” Frank asked.
“Six-hundred thousand?” Frank said. “So I’m going to be up late tonight.”
Yeah, but you can only vote once per day, unless you log on as a different user over and over?
“Warn Bergen County,” Frank said. “I’m going to go to every house tonight door-to-door and I’m going to have them punch in a vote. Yi, we’re going to be good there. We have a whole country.”
Seriously, though, Frank and the Nets have more things to worry about than the fans who aren’t coming to the games and aren’t voting for Harris. They have to figure out how to defend better at home, play with more urgency at home and win more games at home.
Some want to point to the lack of fan support for that. The fans have every right to stay home, especially in this economic environment.
If it wasn’t my job to go to games, I don’t know how many I would attend. Probably not many. But I would vote for the players who deserved to be an All-Star. No way should Harris be tenth — not with the year he’s having thus far.
Al Iannazzone covers the Nets for The Record (Bergen County, N.J.).