The NBA released the first round of fan voting results for the All-Star Game, and the status of several players revealed precisely why the league split the vote last year with players and media members.
Based solely on the first round of fan voting, LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo would serve as captains from the Western and Eastern conferences, respectively, which is entirely appropriate. However, the fan voting, as currently constituted, would also reserve starting spots for Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade and Luka Doncic over the likes of James Harden, Victor Oladipo and Anthony Davis.
Keep in mind, voting for fans will remain open through Jan. 21, and those results only count 50 percent toward the selections. Players and media split the remaining 50 percent, and because Rose and Wade, in particular, are unlikely to crack many of those ballots, it is highly unlikely that any of the anomalies in the initial round of fan voting results will stand when the starters are announced on TNT on Jan. 24.
James led all players with 1,084,363 votes, followed by Antetokounmpo (991,561), Kyrie Irving (910,329), Stephen Curry (793,111) and Kawhi Leonard (774,172). No other player received more than 700,000 votes.
Two guards and three frontcourt players will be selected from each conference to serve as starters. The remaining All-Stars will be selected by coaches. The leading vote-getter from the East and West will then pick teams from the player pool in a televised draft prior to the Feb. 17 game in Charlotte.
If the team starters were selected solely by fans, those players would be, as of now: James, Curry, Rose, Doncic and Kevin Durant from the West; Antetokounmpo, Irving, Leonard, Wade and Joel Embiid from the East. (If you ask me, which you didn’t, the likely selections will more likely be: James, Durant, Davis, Curry and Harden in the West; Antetokounmpo, Leonard, Embiid, Irving and Oladipo in the East.)
Here are the complete results from the first round of fan voting, as released by the NBA:
1. LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers (1,083,363)
2. Luka Dončić, Dallas Mavericks (679,839)
3. Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors (659,968)
4. Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans (605,417)
5. Paul George, Oklahoma City Thunder (580,055)
6. Steven Adams, Thunder (261,327)
7. Nikola Jokić, Denver Nuggets (235,272)
8. Kyle Kuzma, Lakers (195,477)
9. Draymond Green, Warriors (138,017)
10. DeMarcus Cousins*, Warriors (92,977)
* A reminder that Cousins has not played a single game due to injury this year.
1. Stephen Curry, Warriors (793,111)
2. Derrick Rose, Minnesota Timberwolves (698,086)
3. James Harden, Houston Rockets (541,606)
4. Russell Westbrook, Thunder (459,792)
5. Klay Thompson**, Warriors (247,618)
6. Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers (200,609)
7. DeMar DeRozan, San Antonio Spurs (197,524)
8. Lonzo Ball**, Lakers (175,040)
9. Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns (111,897)
10. Chris Paul, Rockets (101,104)
** That’s five Warriors and three Lakers among the top 20 vote-getters in the West.
1. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks (991,561)
2. Kawhi Leonard, Toronto Raptors (774,172)
3. Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers (648,002)
4. Jimmy Butler, 76ers (222,206)
5. Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics (214,622)
6. Blake Griffin, Detroit Pistons (192,694)
7. Vince Carter***, Atlanta Hawks (76,022)
8. Andre Drummond, Pistons (68,204)
9. Gordon Hayward***, Celtics (66,492)
10. Al Horford, Celtics (62,288)
1. Kyrie Irving, Celtics (910,329)
2. Dwyane Wade***, Miami Heat (409,156)
3. Kemba Walker, Charlotte Hornets (319,519)
4. Ben Simmons, 76ers (259,993)
5. Victor Oladipo, Indiana Pacers (198,009)
6. Kyle Lowry, Raptors (180,571)
7. Zach LaVine***, Chicago Bulls (128,605)
8. Jeremy Lin***, Hawks (62,573)
9. Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards (61,269)
10. John Wall, Wizards (54,366)
*** Nope, nah, definitely not, no way and heck no.
For the record: Fans should absolutely vote for who they want to see in the All-Star Game, and they should absolutely not have the final say on who should be in the game, given these results.