Pau Gasol second in latest All-Star voting results


Jan 1

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Jimmy Butler moved ahead of Derrick Rose in the latest All-Star game fan balloting, though it seems unlikely either will be voted to start the game.

Bulls center Pau Gasol, however, appears likely to be named a starter as he moved up from third to second among Eastern Conference front court players in the second returns released Thursday.

Fans voting select two guards and three frontcourt players in All-Star game voting that concludes Jan. 19. The results are announced on TNT Jan 22. The game is Feb. 15. The coaches then vote for the reserves with the results announced Jan. 29. With his strong start to the season as Eastern Conference Player of the Month for November and Player of the Week for the end of December, Butler seems almost certain to be invited to his first NBA All-Star game.

Most likely John Wall and Dwyane Wade, leading the East fan voting at guard, will be named starters as third place Kyrie Irving is far behind Wade. The troubles of the Cavaliers raise questions for Irving being added as coaches tend to favor in their voting the teams with the better records.

So it seems almost certain Toronto’s Kyle Lowry will be named to his first All-Star team. Also, the coaches will look to add a player or more from the Atlanta Hawks, making Jeff Teague a strong candidate even though he was not in the top 10 in the fan voting.

Rose likely will get in the conversation because of the Bulls’ play along with two-time All-Star Joakim Noah. Noah was sixth among Eastern Conference front court players with Chris Bosh and Kevin Love ahead of him. But Miami has been sinking fast in the East and Love has had a down season trying to fit in with the lately struggling Cavaliers. Plus, the coaches always like the spirit of Noah. Again, the coaches likely will want to add a frontcourt player from Atlanta and perhaps Washington. Or maybe an upcoming young player like Nikola Vucevic or Tobias Harris from Orlando now that Al Jefferson is hurt.

Perhaps the biggest surprise in the voting is Bulls rookie Nikola Mirotic moving into 15th among Eastern Conference frontcourt players, the only rookie and only reserve named in the top fan voting in the East frontcourt.

LeBron James received the most overall votes followed by Stephen Curry and then Anthony Davis.

In the Western Conference, the top votes for starters are to Davis, Blake Griffin and Marc Gasol among frontcourt players and Curry and Kobe Bryant among guards. The only likely change could be Kevin Durant moving up to start now that he is back from injury. The biggest change in voting was Damian Lillard moving up from eighth to fifth among West guards.

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