Posted December 26, 2013

Kobe Bryant still on pace to start for the West in second round of All-Star returns

2014 All-Star Weekend, Blake Griffin, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, Dwyane Wade, Kevin Durant, Kevin Love, Kobe Bryant, Kyrie Irving, LeBron James, Paul George, Rob Mahoney, Stephen Curry
Kobe Bryant will likely represent the West yet again in the 2014 NBA All-Star Game. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Kobe Bryant will likely represent the West yet again in the 2014 NBA All-Star Game. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The NBA released the second round of fan voting results for the 2014 All-Star Game on Thursday, and while there weren’t any changes at the top of the order, several positional races remain as tight as ever.

Among Western Conference frontcourt players there looks to be but a single lock. Kevin Durant (Thunder) ranks second among vote-getters overall thus far with 850,728 votes, but behind him are three qualified candidates within 30,000 votes of one another. Dwight Howard (Rockets) currently ranks just behind Durant with 408,623 votes, and trailing him are Blake Griffin (Clippers) with 399,357 and Kevin Love (Timberwolves) with 377,941. Only two of those three players can be voted in as starters by the fans, though all four are likely to make the All-Star roster in some form.

Things are just as competitive among backcourt players in the West, where Kobe Bryant (Lakers) – despite struggling through just six games played and suffering another major injury — built a 200,000-vote lead en route to 723,031 votes overall. At the moment, Chris Paul (Clippers) is slated to be Bryant’s backcourt partner among the West starters with his 533,647 votes, though Stephen Curry (Warriors) is well within striking distance (at 481,698 votes) should the polls take a swing in his favor.

Bryant’s injuries did cost him his status as the West’s leading vote-getter, though, with Durant claiming the title in the first round of balloting and challenging LeBron James (Heat) for the top vote-getter overall. But that the Lakers guard is still tracking to be a shoo-in starter for what would be his 16th All-Star Game appearance is problematic in a different way. Bryant’s emphatic lead as a backcourt starter for the West could well deny an All-Star berth to a worthier candidate; while both Curry and Paul will have no problem making the roster, Bryant’s claim could stand in the way of Damian Lillard (Trail Blazers), Tony Parker (Spurs), Anthony Davis (Pelicans), Andre Iguodala (Warriors), Ty Lawson (Nuggets), or DeMarcus Cousins (Kings) making the team as a reserve.

This year’s fan vote selects the starters for the midseason showcase in New Orleans on Feb. 16. There is a wrinkle to the process that was initiated last year: Fans select two “backcourt” players and three “frontcourt” players rather than two guards, two forwards, and one center as they had in previous years.

Here are the projected starting lineups for each conference based on the first two rounds of balloting returns:

  • East: Kyrie Irving (Cavaliers), Dwyane Wade (Heat), Paul George (Pacers), Carmelo Anthony (Knicks), and James
  • West: Paul, Bryant, Durant, Griffin, and Howard

All 10 of those projected starters were 2013 All-Stars, and eight of them were All-Star starters last season. The only projected starting lineup newcomers are Irving, who would plug in for Celtics guard Rajon Rondo (an injury scratch in 2013, who was replaced by Heat forward Chris Bosh), and George, who would step in for then-Celtics forward/center Kevin Garnett (now with the Nets). Howard started last season as a member of the Lakers.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Frontcourt: LeBron James (Mia) 854,105; Paul George (Ind) 712,808; Carmelo Anthony (NYK) 580,795; Roy Hibbert (Ind) 304,829; Chris Bosh (Mia) 222,861; Kevin Garnett (BKN) 137,520; Joakim Noah (Chi) 101,308; Andre Drummond (Det) 91,132; Jeff Green (Bos) 78,693; Tyson Chandler (NYK) 77,496; Luol Deng (Chi) 73,418; Carlos Boozer (Chi) 64,861; Paul Pierce (BKN) 60,541; Brook Lopez (BKN) 52,907; Josh Smith (Det) 46,836

Backcourt: Dwyane Wade (Mia) 565,455; Kyrie Irving (Cle) 524,000; Derrick Rose (Chi) 299,950; John Wall (Was) 210,988; Ray Allen (Mia) 143,714; Rajon Rondo (Bos) 111,335; Deron Williams (BKN) 74,047; George Hill (Ind) 66,030; Lance Stephenson (Ind) 50,444; DeMar DeRozan (Tor) 48,744

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Frontcourt: Kevin Durant (OKC) 850,728; Dwight Howard (Hou) 408,623; Blake Griffin (LAC) 399,357; Kevin Love (Min) 377,941l Tim Duncan (SA) 312,809; LaMarcus Aldridge (Por) 282,613; Anthony Davis (NO) 188,589; Pau Gasol (LAL) 177,883; Andre Iguodala (GS) 145,089; Dirk Nowitzki (Dal) 126,025; Chandler Parsons (Hou) 106,369; DeMarcus Cousins (Sac) 99,903; David Lee (GS) 89,858; Omer Asik (Hou) 79,591; Kawhi Leonard (SA) 76,110

Backcourt: Kobe Bryant (LAL) 723,031; Chris Paul (LAC) 533,647; Stephen Curry (GS) 481,698; Jeremy Lin (Hou) 358,725; James Harden (Hou) 270,476; Russell Westbrook (OKC) 216,070; Tony Parker (SA) 158,329; Damian Lillard (Por) 105,880; Ricky Rubio (Min) 81,829; Steve Nash (LAL) 81,377

10 comments
JoeCabot
JoeCabot

One of the best headlines of the year, because you knew that it would bring out the cyber-screamers, yelling about how fan balloting is ruining basketball, how Kobe is evil, and how this is a sign of the planet spinning off its axis.  All over an exhibition game.

KristianColasacco
KristianColasacco

Raise your hand if you voted for Kobe. 
Now if your hand is raised, you're stupid. 

OK
OK

Da Alleged Rapist be wantin' tos be startin' in da All-Star Game. Dat be all Da Alleged Rapist needs.

DEJ1948
DEJ1948

I guess I understand why professional sports leagues allow fans to vote for all-star teams, but it turns the whole thing into a useless charade.  The players are the ones who know who rates an all-star nod, not a bunch of celebrity obsessed fans.  The only all-star game that has any real meaning is baseball's.  The rest of them are just an excuse to party. 

espnrefugee0218
espnrefugee0218

because neither damian lillard or ty lawson deserve to be in...lets vote in the guy who cant even play 

Suteki73
Suteki73

So the team with the best  record in the NBA (Portland) will have no one on the All Star team, yet Kobe who has only played 6 games and on a team that will be in the cellar of the Western Conference is leading all players for the back court.  This is not about who the best players are, but a popularity contest........  

CobyPreimesberger
CobyPreimesberger

this is why fan voting is the worse, whenever i vote nba or mlb, if a guy is injured and won't play i vote for someone else

doop
doop

@JoeCabot its an issue because people throw around " # time All-Star" like its some great accomplishment when this shows the exact opposite.  it has ruined what it actually means to be an all-star

JimmieSapp
JimmieSapp

Unlike you who needs to learn english.

joshua33nelson
joshua33nelson

@Suteki73 It's been like this forever.  Shaq always got voted in even at the end of his career when he didn't play.