Cleveland Cavaliers superstar Kyrie Irving leads fellow guards Stephen Curry, James Harden and Russell Westbrook with most votes in the first fan returns for the 2017 NBA All-Star game.
Even though Curry leads all Western Conference guards with 523,597 votes, Irving (543,030) has the second most overall votes only behind teammate LeBron James (595,288). Harden and Westbrook, the co-favourites to win the MVP award, have received fewer votes than expected at this early stage of the fan ballot.
Irving has become the Cavaliers "closer" in recent years. After making the shot heard around the world during Game 7 of the NBA Finals last June, the Australian-born guard once again broke the hearts of Warriors fans during the Christmas day game last month.
2017 NBA All-Star game: Fans votes not that important anymore
It's important to note that the NBA has reduced the significance of fans votes this year. Unlike previous years, fans votes will account for only 50 percent of the final ballot -- with players and the media also casting their respective votes (25 percent each). According to NBA.com, the players and media will begin to cast their votes next week, Player and media voting will begin next week, "with each participant completing one full ballot featuring two guards and three frontcourt players from both conferences."
Once all the votes are tallied, players will be ranked in each conference by position within each of the three voting groups, namely fans, players and the media. Also, power forwards and centres are both clubbed under "frontcourt" unlike in previous All-Star games when centres, forwards and guards were voted for separately. Therefore, effectively, a player like Draymond Green, not a true big man, could be voted in as a centre.
The popularity of the Golden State Warriors is unquestionable. Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry are the leading vote-getters among all players in the Western Conference.
Voted for your favourite player, yet? Every fan is eligible to submit one full each day through the NBA's official website, the NBA app (on Android or iOS), Facebook, Twitter or Google Search by using the hashtag #NBAVote. Fans in China can utilise services such as Sina Weibo and Tencent Microblogs. Every player is available for selection.
The following is the tally of first fan returns for the 2017 NBA All-Star game (via NBA.com):
1. Kevin Durant (GS) 541,209
2. Zaza Pachulia (GS) 439,675
3. Kawhi Leonard (SA) 341,240
4. Anthony Davis (NO) 318,144
5. Draymond Green (GS) 236,315
6. DeMarcus Cousins (SAC) 202,317
7. Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN) 125,278
8. LaMarcus Aldridge (SA) 101,724
9. Blake Griffin (LAC) 100,524
10. Marc Gasol (MEM) 97,370
1. Stephen Curry (GS) 523,597
2. James Harden (HOU) 519,446
3. Russell Westbrook (OKC) 501,652
4. Klay Thompson (GS) 293,054
5. Chris Paul (LAC) 173,830
6. Damian Lillard (POR) 117,857
7. Eric Gordon (HOU) 76,609
8. Manu Ginobili (SA) 65,832
9. Andre Iguodala (GS) 64,247
10. Zach LaVine (MIN) 53,642
Eastern Conference Frontcourt:
1. LeBron James (CLE) 595,288
2. Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL) 500,663
3. Kevin Love (CLE) 250,347
4. Joel Embiid (PHI) 221,984
5. Carmelo Anthony (NY) 189,817
6. Jimmy Butler (CHI) 189,066
7. Kristaps Porzingis (NY) 184,166
8. Paul George (IND) 138,332
9. Hassan Whiteside (MIA) 72,628
10. Jabari Parker (MIL) 64,141
Guards 1. Kyrie Irving (CLE) 543,030
2. Dwyane Wade (CHI) 278,052
3. DeMar DeRozan (TOR) 253,340
4. Isaiah Thomas (BOS) 193,297
5. Derrick Rose (NY) 129,924
6. Kyle Lowry (TOR) 128,940
7. John Wall (WAS) 87,360
8. Jeremy Lin (BKN) 59,562
9. Kemba Walker (CHA) 52,122
10. Avery Bradley (BOS) 32,822