Reigning MVP Stephen Curry on Thursday was voted in as a starter for the Western Conference All-Star Game.
His Warriors teammate, Draymond Green, who clung to a starting spot in the most recent balloting update, did not make the cut. San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard overtook Green to nab the third and final frontcourt spot.
Curry will join Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Bryant and Leonard in the starting lineup for the Western Conference -– despite the objections of TNT analyst Charles Barkley.
“Draymond Green deserves to be starting in the All-Star Game, plain and simple,” he said during the televised announcement. “No disrespect to the fans; I hate the fans’ vote. But Draymond Green should be starting in the All-Star Game – over Kevin Durant.”
When fellow analyst Kenny Smith interceded, explaining that there usually is a year or so lag time before the casual fan recognizes those most deserving, Barkley responded with a mighty swipe at those who failed to vote in Green as a starter.
“You have to be a total moron to not know that Draymond Green should be starting in the All-Star Game,” he said. “You have to be a total damn idiot."
With 726,616 votes, Green finished fifth in the final voting among Western Conference frontcourt players, behind top vote-getter Kobe Bryant (1,891,614), Kawhi Leonard (782,338) Durant (980,787) and fourth-place finisher Zaza Pachulia (768,112).
Green totaled 726,616 votes, ranking fifth among frontcourt players in the Western Conference. He leads the NBA in triple-doubles with eight and is averaging 14.5 points per game, 9.5 rebounds and 7.4 assists.
Green, 25, last season did not finish among the top 15 vote-getters among Western Conference frontcourt players.
Curry will be making his third consecutive start. All-Star Weekend is scheduled for Feb. 12-14 at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, with the game set for Sunday, Feb. 14.
One year after supplanting LeBron James as the top vote-getter, Curry totaled 1,604,325 votes, the second-highest total overall after Lakers legend Kobe Bryant (1, 891,614), whose surge in voting popularity was attributed to his announcement that this will be his last season.
Curry leads the NBA in scoring (29.9 points per game), is second in free throw percentage (90.7), 13th in assists (6.5) and fifth in steals (2.1).
Guard Klay Thompson, who started the game last season as an injury replacement, finished fourth among conference guards – behind Chris Paul, Curry and Westbrook – with 555,513 votes.