Zaza Pachulia, center, got many more votes than his superstar teammate Dirk Nowitzki. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Zaza Pachulia is a center for the Dallas Mavericks. I mention that because you may not have known the team for which Pachulia plays, or even that he plays professional basketball. This is significant because Zaza Pachulia was darn near voted into the Western Conference starting lineup for the NBA all-star game.

A late surge in votes, one that’s Lang Whitaker attributed to “a concerted effort to get out the international vote,” resulted in the Georgian big man finishing fourth among Western Conference frontcourt players, just behind the San Antonio Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard, who happens to be in the MVP conversation. In fact, if leading vote-getter Kobe Bryant, who has been spending most of his time at small forward for the Los Angeles Lakers this season, were not classified as a frontcourt player for the first time in his lengthy career, Pachulia would have made the starting lineup.

Fan voting for the all-star game closed on Monday, and the NBA announced its starting lineups on Thursday. The league is likely relieved that Pachulia, a 13-year veteran who is averaging 10.5 points and 10.8 rebounds for the Mavs, was not among the superstars they highlighted.

To translate all those Twitter handles, the starters are as follows:

Frontcourt: Bryant, Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder), Leonard
Backcourt: Steph Curry (Golden State Warriors), Russell Westbrook (Thunder)

Frontcourt: LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers), Paul George (Indiana Pacers), Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks)
Backcourt: Dwyane Wade (Miami Heat), Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors)

A lot of observers, including Charles Barkley, felt that Warriors forward Draymond Green deserved to be a starter, given his team’s 39-4 record. Yet not only did Green finish below the unheralded Pachulia, so did the likes of Blake Griffin, Tim Duncan, Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, LaMarcus Aldridge, Dwight Howard and Dirk Nowitzki.

In that light, the support for Pachulia seems peculiar, indeed. However, fans can vote for whomever they like from all over the world, and with the reach of the Internet, perhaps we should expect these kinds of results.

Some are saying that this is the reason that fans shouldn’t have all-star votes, just as many have made the same argument with the NHL’s all-star game, for which fans voted journeyman enforcer John Scott as a captain. On the other hand, if enough fans want to give a fairly anonymous player his moment in the sun, in what is essentially a glorified exhibition game, what’s the harm?