Kevin Durant leads All-Star voting, Nets teammates Kyrie Irving and James Harden in tight race
The NBA – over De’Aaron Fox’s objections – is proceeding with an All-Star game.
Whether or not the game actually happens amid the coronavirus pandemic, the league is naming rosters, which means fans voting for All-Star starters:
The first returns:
- Bradley Beal (WAS) 1,273,817
- Kyrie Irving (BRK) 1,093,611
- James Harden (BRK) 1,014,763
- Jaylen Brown (BOS) 590,195
- Zach LaVine (CHI) 486,547
- Trae Young (ATL) 368,126
- Collin Sexton (CLE) 207,218
- Derrick Rose (DET) 183,899
- Russell Westbrook (WAS) 137,641
- Ben Simmons (PHI) 117,993
- Kevin Durant (BRK) 2,302,705
- Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL) 1,752,185
- Joel Embiid (PHI) 1,584,028
- Jayson Tatum (BOS) 822,151
- Jimmy Butler (MIA) 327,929
- Bam Adebayo (MIA) 307,498
- Domantas Sabonis (IND) 186,275
- Julius Randle (NYK) 175,325
- Gordon Hayward (CHA) 159,767
- Jerami Grant (DET) 134,487
- Stephen Curry (GSW) 2,113,178
- Luka Doncic (DAL) 1,395,719
- Damian Lillard (POR) 998,853
- Ja Morant (MEM) 257,743
- Donovan Mitchell (UTA) 236,850
- Devin Booker (PHO) 173,755
- Chris Paul (PHO) 128,127
- C.J. McCollum (POR) 104,965
- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (OKC) 99,286
- Klay Thompson (GSW) 99,094
- LeBron James (LAL) 2,288,676
- Nikola Jokic (DEN) 1,477,975
- Kawhi Leonard (LAC) 1,285,777
- Anthony Davis (LAL) 1,192,881
- Paul George (LAC) 549,280
- Zion Williamson (NOP) 411,668
- Andrew Wiggins (GSW) 264,781
- Christian Wood (HOU) 261,009
- Brandon Ingram (NOP) 230,387
- Carmelo Anthony (POR) 179,310
Remember, the fan vote means less than it used to. Fans were once solely responsible for picking All-Star starters. Now, fan vote accounts for just half the formula (media and players each contributing the other quarters).
There will be plenty of hand-wringing about the full leaderboard. But only 10 slots are on the line. It doesn’t really matter that Russell Westbrook, Klay Thompson and Carmelo Anthony are receiving too many votes or Rudy Gobert, Khris Middleton and Mike Conley too few. None of them will start the All-Star game, regardless.
Let’s look at the actual All-Star starter races:
Eastern Conference guard: Bradley Beal now looks like a lock to start. He leads the fan vote. The media is impressed by his production with the Wizards. Players hold him in high esteem. New Nets teammates Kyrie Irving and James Harden are seemingly fighting for the second starting spot. The fan vote is tight between Irving and Harden and could make the difference.
Eastern Conference frontcourt: Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid will almost certainly start. They lead the fan vote by a significant margin and will probably win the other voting blocs, too.
Western Conference guard: Stephen Curry surges to the lead of the three-man race with his massive lead in fan voting. Luka Doncic has the upper hand over Damian Lillard for the other starting spot, though that is still very up for grabs
Western Conference frontcourt: LeBron James will start. Nikola Jokic, Kawhi Leonard and Anthony Davis are vying for the other two spots. Davis – fourth in fan voting and not playing as well as Jokic and Leonard – faces an uphill climb. But the Lakers’ popularity could get him more votes.
As far as the honor of overall vote leader… People clearly are clearly excited to again watch Kevin Durant, who missed last season due to injury. He’s back and playing his enjoyable highly skilled game. That has translated to the most votes so far. LeBron James, who has led fan voting the previous four seasons, ranks second.