Saturday, January 22, 2022

NBA All-Star Game fan voting: Warriors’ Stephen Curry, Nets’ Kevin Durant lead first returns

NBA All-Star Game fan voting: Warriors' Stephen Curry, Nets' Kevin Durant lead first returns

Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Bucks is right behind them

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NBA All-Star voting has been open since Christmas Day, and the first returns came in on Thursday. It should not surprise you that the Golden State WarriorsStephen Curry and the Brooklyn NetsKevin Durant are leading vote-getters, but it absolutely should surprise you that Andrew Wiggins has more votes than Draymond Green

Another Warriors-related surprise: Klay Thompson, who has not played in a single game this year, has more votes than Devin Booker and Chris Paul

Here’s the breakdown in the West:

1. LeBron James, Lakers (2,018,725)

1. Stephen Curry, Warriors (2,584,623)

2. Nikola Jokic, Nuggets (1,649,809)

2. Luka Doncic, Mavericks (787,690)

3. Paul George, Clippers (1,072,591)

3. Ja Morant, Grizzlies (669,033)

4. Andrew Wiggins, Warriors (933,355)

4. Klay Thompson, Warriors (367,743)

5. Draymond Green, Warriors (691,423)

5. Devin Booker, Suns (338,526)

6. Anthony Davis, Lakers (592,281)

6. Chris Paul, Suns (315,912)

7. Karl-Anthony Towns, Timberwolves (474,794)

7. Donovan Mitchell, Jazz (217,546)

8. Carmelo Anthony, Lakers (319,128)

8. Damian Lillard, Blazers (211,352)

9. Rudy Gobert, Jazz (218,819)

9. Russell Westbrook, Lakers (210,065)

10. Deandre Ayton, Suns (177,115)

10. Anthony Edwards, Wolves (128,863)

And in the East:

1. Kevin Durant, Nets (2,360,435)

1. DeMar DeRozan, Bulls (1,487,598)

2. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks (2,145,835)

2. James Harden, Nets (892,065)

3. Joel Embiid, Sixers (1,236,060)

3. Trae Young, Hawks (862,878)

4. Jayson Tatum, Celtics (643,970)

4. Zach LaVine, Bulls (776,043)

5. Jimmy Butler, Heat (522,513)

5. LaMelo Ball, Hornets (422,247)

6. Jarrett Allen, Cavaliers (168,019)

6. Kyrie Irving, Nets (267,929)

7. Bam Adebayo, Heat (141,693)

7. Derrick Rose, Knicks (232,501)

8. Miles Bridges, Hornets (122,554)

8. Tyler Herro, Heat (122,224)

9. LaMarcus Aldridge, Nets (111,318)

9. Darius Garland, Cavaliers (119,399)

10. Nikola Vucevic, Bulls (92,936)

10. Fred VanVleet, Raptors (108,529)

First returns can be wacky — last year, Alex Caruso and Tacko Fall (!) were the big surprises —  and fan voting alone does not determine the starters. Fans will account for half the vote, while players and a panel of media members will account for 25 percent each.  

That said, a few notes:

There’s some weird stuff in the West

Paul George was playing All-Star caliber basketball before his injury, even though he wasn’t shooting well. It’s strange, though, to see him head and shoulders above the likes of Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert. 

The stranger thing, however, is that, if someone overtakes George, it might be Wiggins. While Wiggins is in the midst of a career year, this is a bit much. I can understand him getting a Golden State bump, but what bumped him past the Defensive Player of the Year frontrunner who plays on the same team? 

Thompson and Carmelo Anthony clearly got their votes for sentimental reasons. Luka Doncic hasn’t been at his best this season, but you wouldn’t know it by these numbers. Ja Morant would be a worthy starter, but it’s interesting that he got more than three times as many votes as Donovan Mitchell. 

The East backcourt race is an actual race

DeMar DeRozan has a commanding lead among East guards, but Trae Young isn’t far behind James Harden for the second spot. DeRozan’s teammate Zach LaVine isn’t out of the race, either. Fun!

Personally, I’d go with DeRozan and Young, but this is a tough call. My opinion might change three times before voting is over.

Another note on the East backcourt: VanVleet should be a lock for a reserve spot, and Darius Garland would likely make my team, too. But Kyrie Irving, who made his season debut last night, is ahead of both. Sure, fine, whatever, I guess.   

The East frontcourt race is not a race whatsoever

This section is the easiest one on the ballot. Durant, Antetokounmpo and Embiid all deserve starting spots, and, based on this early voting, they’re going to get them. It’s hard to imagine Tatum or Butler making up more than a half-million votes. 

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