Although the NBA changed voting rules for the NBA All-Star Game, the polling continues to be a popularity contest.
Just take a look at the latest NBA fan polling results released Thursday. You’ll notice Warriors center Zaza Pachulia has the eighth-most All-Star votes despite averaging just 5.5 points and 5.7 rebounds per game.
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Embiid, who has revitalized the franchise, was named Eastern Conference player of the week. Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel will see more playing time in his absence.
The Raptors announced Monday that DeRozan likely will miss their next two games with a right ankle sprain. The Eastern Conference All-Star starter will have the injury reevaluated at the end of the week.
DeRozan was upset with the injury because he tried to go into the mindset this year of wanting to play all 82 (games).
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Still, it’s obvious why folks in Boston are pining for Hayward. He is only 26 and has developed into the kind of do-it-all wing who would complement guard Isaiah Thomas and big man Al Horford. Hayward is averaging a career-high 22.4 points and 6.0 rebounds, shooting 45.3 percent from the field and 36.5 percent from the 3-point line. He might not make the Celtics an immediate threat to take down Cleveland in the East, but he would represent a step in that direction.
The problem is that Utah, winners of 15 of their last 21 games, is in position to make the playoffs for the first time in six years and is just now cashing in on years of difficult rebuilding. They have no desire to let Hayward walk, and with the trading deadline still seven weeks away, they’ve not considered offers for Hayward. That could change. As one league source pointed out, No one does things more quietly than Utah, and the 2011 trade of Deron Williams to the Nets, which seemingly came out of the blue, is a good example of that.