Butler 4th and Gasol 5th in first All-Star returns


Dec 25

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If the NBA All-Star game were Christmas Day—instead of just so many All-Stars playing on Christmas Day—the East team would start LeBron James, Paul George, Andre Drummond, Dwyane Wade and Kyrie Irving against Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, Stephen Curry and Russell Westbrook.

Those players were at the top of the voting with the release Friday of the first All-Star fan voting results.

The fan voting selects the starters. A vote of the coaches in each conference determines the reserves a week after the starters are announced Jan. 21. The commissioner selects a player if there is an injury withdrawal.

It’s possible the Bulls could still end up with an Eastern Conference starter as three Bulls players attracted enough votes that it seems likely at least one and perhaps two will be All-Stars this season.

Jimmy Butler was fourth among East guards, but the voting was close after the runaway leader Wade. Wade had more than double the votes of second place Irving, who just returned after injury to play his first game earlier this week. Toronto’s Kyle Lowry was third. But Washington’s John Wall was a close fifth to Butler. Derrick Rose was sixth and Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan seventh, which showed the popularity of Rose even with a slow start to the season as DeRozan is 11th in the NBA in scoring at almost 23 per game.

There is no longer a separate category for centers in the voting. Centers are considered with forwards under a frontcourt title. The Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony was fourth and Pau Gasol was fifth ahead of Cleveland’s Kevin Love and Miami’s Chris Bosh. New York rookie Kristaps Porzingis was eighth, which is unusual for rookies. Joakim Noah was 12th among East frontcourt players.

The debate about whether Kobe Bryant deserves to be on the All-Star team given his slow shooting start to the season and the Lakers’ poor record seems moot as Bryant was easily the leading vote getter in the first returns. It would be Bryant’s 18th All-Star game. Bryant had more than 200,00 more votes than runnerup Stephen Curry, whose Golden State Warriors have been the story of the early season with Curry headed to a second straight league MVP award. Bryant almost doubled the vote total of East leader LeBron James.

In the West, the Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard was fourth among frontcourt players and the Warriors’ Draymond Green fifth. The Pelicans’ Anthony Davis was sixth and the Spurs’ Tim Duncan seventh.

Among guards, the Clippers’ Chris Paul was third behind Curry and Westbrook. The Warriors’ Klay Thompson was fourth and the Rockets’ James Harden fifth. The Kings’ Rajon Rondo was sixth.

The All-Star game is Feb. 14th in Toronto. Fan voting will end Jan. 18.

Eastern Conference

1 LeBron James (Cle) 357,937
2 Paul George (Ind) 283,785
3 Andre Drummond (Det) 148,278
4 Carmelo Anthony (NYK) 132,119
5 Pau Gasol (Chi) 109,585
6 Kevin Love (Cle) 92,177
7 Chris Bosh (Mia) 91,896
8 Kristaps Porzingis (NYK) 85,606
9 Hassan Whiteside (Mia) 72,923
10 Giannis Antetokounmpo (Mil) 25,926
11 Jonas Valanciunas (Tor) 12,341
12 Joakim Noah (Chi) 10,808
13 Paul Millsap (Atl) 10,501
14 Marcin Gortat (Was) 9,443
15 DeMarre Carroll (Tor) 8,885

1 Dwyane Wade (Mia) 300,595
2 Kyrie Irving (Cle) 138,191
3 Kyle Lowry (Tor) 128,131
4 Jimmy Butler (Chi) 111,220
5 John Wall (Was) 103,094
6 Derrick Rose (Chi) 72,709
7 DeMar DeRozan (Tor) 69,042
8 Jeremy Lin (Cha) 61,832
9 Isaiah Thomas (Bos) 45,014
10 Nicolas Batum (Cha) 20,596

Western Conference

1 Kobe Bryant (LAL) 719,235
2 Kevin Durant (OKC) 349,473
3 Blake Griffin (LAC) 182,107
4 Kawhi Leonard (SA) 164,521
5 Draymond Green (GS) 160,350
6 Anthony Davis (NO) 156,161
7 Tim Duncan (SA) 127,543
8 DeMarcus Cousins (Sac) 101,930
9 Dwight Howard (Hou) 66,598
10 LaMarcus Aldridge (SA) 65,019
11 Dirk Nowitzki (Dal) 56,377
12 DeAndre Jordan (LAC) 49,696
13 Enes Kanter (OKC) 47,806
14 Harrison Barnes (GS) 43,343
15 Kevin Garnett (Min) 42,285

1 Stephen Curry (GS) 510,202
2 Russell Westbrook (OKC) 267,699
3 Chris Paul (LAC) 146,335
4 Klay Thompson (GS) 138,587
5 James Harden (Hou) 135,531
6 Rajon Rondo (Sac) 66,164
7 Andre Iguodala (GS) 62,407
8 Damian Lillard (Por) 47,615
9 Manu Ginobili (SA) 42,413
10 Tony Parker (SA) 40,693

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