BOSTON — Joel Embiid is an All-Star starter.

The Sixers' big man is joined by LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kyrie Irving and DeMar DeRozan to represent the Eastern Conference.

"I feel very blessed to be in this type of position," Embiid said Thursday. "Thank all the fans out there for the support. It’s been a tough couple of years and I really appreciate it — everybody out there, everybody around me, the whole team, the whole organization, the fans especially, for making this happen. We can only get better from here."

Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins are the Western Conference starters.

These players were selected by fans (50 percent of the votes), current NBA players (25 percent) and a select group of media (25 percent).

Embiid finished third among fans, fourth among players and third among the media for frontcourt guys.

Embiid is averaging 23.8 points, 10.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocks in his second NBA season. He has stressed making the playoffs is his main goal.

"I feel like my play is gonna do the talk," Embiid said at shootaround prior to the Sixers' game against the Celtics. "So if I’m an All-Star starter, that’d be great. But I feel like I have the résumé to be an All-Star. But tonight my focus is about beating a Celtics team that’s 3-0 against us. I don’t want to [be swept in] the series. I want to win tonight." 

 

Ben Simmons, who had been third among backcourt players in the last voting returns, still could be named a reserve. Head coaches will vote for those players, announced Jan. 23. Simmons is averaging 16.8 points, 8.0 rebounds and 7.3 dimes. 

"I think both of them are All-Stars in their own right," Brett Brown said of Embiid and Simmons. 

This season, the All-Star teams will be chosen in a draft format of all players instead of East versus West. The top two vote getters from each conference, James and Curry, will be team captains to select the squads. The rosters will be announced Jan. 25. 

The 2018 All-Star Game will be played Feb. 18 in Los Angeles.