Based on the player voting for NBA All-Star starters, Miami Heat players either have a few diehard fans among their peers, or are fans of themselves.
Because of the 16 players under contract to the Heat, all but three received player votes to be starters in the Feb. 19 All-Star Game in Utah.
Granted, the votes had no impact on the 10 starters named, with the league’s elite safely protected by a process that gives only 25th percent of the selection weight to the player vote, with 25 percent to the media and 50 percent to the fans, but they at least were part of the final tabulations.
The only Heat players not to receive at least one vote in the player balloting were center Dewayne Dedmon, forward Haywood Highsmith and two-way player Orlando Robinson. Several NBA players did not participate in the balloting.
Among the Heat’s elite players, forward Jimmy Butler finished fifth overall in the weighted process for the three Eastern Conference frontcourt starting spots, including 22 player votes. Center Bam Adebayo placed eighth in that combined vote, with 40 player votes. In the weighted process for the two Eastern Conference backcourt starting spots, Tyler Herro placed 14th, with 13 player votes.
And then it became a case of ballots gone wild for the Heat. And it wasn’t just players voting for themselves, if any did, with the ballots submitted privately.
Forward Caleb Martin received six player votes to be an East frontcourt starter, with center Omer Yurtseven receiving three votes in that element of the election and veteran captain Udonis Haslem two. Receiving single votes in the player balloting were the Heat’s Nikola Jovic, Jamal Cain and Duncan Robinson. Of that group, Yurtseven has yet to play this season, due to ankle surgery, with Haslem, 42, appearing in only five games, for a total of 37 minutes.
In the voting for East backcourt starting berths, the Heat’s Kyle Lowry received five player votes, Gabe Vincent four player votes, Victor Oladipo two player votes and Max Strus 1.
The All-Star reserves, which are selected by conference coaches, will be announced Thursday, with Adebayo considered a lock for selection, Butler with a deserving resume and Herro more of a longshot.
Jonathan Isaac’s comeback week took a detour, with the Orlando Magic announcing that the forward would sit out Friday night’s game against the Heat at Miami-Dade Arena as part of the management of his return this week from a knee injury that has had him out since the August 2020 pandemic bubble in Orlando.
Isaac’s first game in that comeback was Monday, when he played 10 minutes in a home victory over the Boston Celtics. He then played eight minutes in Wednesday night’s home victory over the Indiana Pacers.
The Magic are in the midst of a back-to-back set that concludes Saturday against the Chicago Bulls.
With Friday opening the four-game season series against the Magic, it brought Oladipo face-to-face with the team that selected him No. 2 overall out of Indiana in 2013 and the opponent he scored 40 against in last year’s regular-season finale.
With Oladipo now settled into the Heat rotation, Butler said the 30-year-old guard has remained on an even keel through his comeback from years of knee issues.
“I think with all the stuff he’s been through, some people tend to, like, change, the majority for the worse, like, ‘I’m giving up on basketball’ or ‘I don’t get the opportunity to be the same player I was,’ ” Butler said. “He’s still him, he’s still smiling, he’s still always putting in the work. He’s a great teammate, a great guy to be around and the guy still can get a bucket whenever you need. And, of course, get a stop whenever you need it.”