BOSTON -- This has been yet another breakout season for Isaiah Thomas, who has been among the better guards in the NBA.
Apparently there are thousands of fans who feel the same way, as first All-Star ballot returns were announced by the NBA on Thursday.
Thomas is fourth in the All-Star voting among guards with 193,297 votes. His backcourt mate Avery Bradley is 10th among guards with 32,822.
LeBron James (595,288) and his Cavaliers teammate Kyrie Irving (543,030) led all Eastern Conference players in voting. Joining James among frontcourt leaders in the East are Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo (500,663) and Cleveland’s Kevin Love (250, 347).
The East backcourt leaders includes Irving and Chicago’s Dwyane Wade (278,052).
In the Western Conference, Golden State’s Kevin Durant led all players with 541,209 votes and is joined in the frontcourt by Golden State’s Zaza Pachulia (439,675) and San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard (341,240)
The Western Conference backcourt leaders are Golden State’s Stephen Curry (523,597) and James Harden of the Houston Rockets with 519,446 votes.
Wade in the East and Pachulia out West are both somewhat surprising when you consider there are multiple players in their respective conferences who are having better seasons individually and in the case of Wade, team success as well.
Among those players is Thomas who is averaging a career-high 27.8 points per game (fifth in the NBA) and has set a number of Celtics records such as most points in the fourth quarter (29 against Miami on Dec. 30) and a career-high 52 points which is the most scored by a Celtics guard ever.
One of the tweaks to the all-star balloting this year is that current players as well as the media will have a say in who the All-Star starters are.
The fan vote will represent 50 percent of those calculated in choosing all-stars, with media and players each having a 25 percent say in the process.
That bodes well for players like Thomas who know that being selected as a starter wasn’t going to happen if the voting were still left solely up to the fans.
But with media and coaches having input in the process, that gives the 5-foot-9 guard a fighting chance of being selected as a starter.
The next fan voting will be revealed on Jan. 12.