By Ben Golliver
The NBA released the first round of fan voting results for the 2013 All-Star Game on Thursday and, even with a new layout and a host of injured stars to consider, there were some familiar names at the top.
Heat forward LeBron James was the overall leading vote-getter with more than 640,000 votes, narrowly edging Lakers guard Kobe Bryant. The rest of the top five: Thunder forward Kevin Durant, Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony and Lakers center Dwight Howard.
This year's fan vote selects the starters for the midseason showcase in Houston on Feb. 17. There is a twist: Fans now select two "backcourt" players and three "frontcourt" players rather than two "guards," two "forwards" and one "center" as they had in previous years. This year's voting process has also extended onto social networking sites.
Here are the starting lineups for each conference based on the first round of returns:
- Eastern Conference: Rajon Rondo (Celtics), Dwyane Wade (Heat), James, Anthony and Kevin Garnett (Celtics).
- Western Conference: Chris Paul (Clippers), Bryant, Durant, Blake Griffin (Clippers) and Howard.
Eight of those players were starters in 2012. The only changes: Rondo, who would plug in for injured Bulls guard Derrick Rose, and Garnett, who would step in for injured Sixers center Andrew Bynum. Bynum started for the Western Conference last year as a member of the Lakers but was traded to the Sixers in a deal that sent Howard to the Lakers.
Frontcourt: LeBron James (Mia) 641,348; Carmelo Anthony (NYK) 573,112; Kevin Garnett (Bos) 218,246; Chris Bosh (Mia) 210,724; Tyson Chandler (NYK) 151,744; Paul Pierce (Bos) 114,735; Joakim Noah (Chi) 73,366; Josh Smith (Atl) 69,344; Andrew Bynum (Phi) 68,596; Amar’e Stoudemire (NYK) 64,266; Shane Battier (Mia) 59,419; Anderson Varejao (Cle) 57,336; Luol Deng (Chi) 48,450; Brook Lopez (BKN) 47,940; Jeff Green (Bos) 36,080.
Backcourt: Dwyane Wade (Mia) 430,925; Rajon Rondo (Bos) 382,613; Deron Williams (BKN) 211,426; Kyrie Irving (Cle) 155,989; Ray Allen (Mia) 130,016; Monta Ellis (Mil) 47,650; Raymond Felton (NYK) 37,974; Jason Terry (Bos) 36,147; Brandon Jennings (Mil) 35,610; Jrue Holiday (Phi) 35,193.
Frontcourt: Kevin Durant (OKC) 605,965; Dwight Howard (LAL) 434,168; Blake Griffin (LAC) 307,855; Tim Duncan (SA) 189,577; Pau Gasol (LAL) 139,868; Kevin Love (Min) 112,922; Omer Asik (Hou) 88,178; Rudy Gay (Mem) 85,279; Serge Ibaka (OKC) 68,285; LaMarcus Aldridge (Por) 66,290; Dirk Nowitzki (Dal) 63,056; Marc Gasol (Mem) 61,716; Zach Randolph (Mem) 59,916; Metta World Peace (LAL) 59,167; Anthony Davis (NO) 53,779.
Backcourt: Kobe Bryant (LAL) 639,419; Chris Paul (LAC) 353,603; Jeremy Lin (Hou) 298,319; James Harden (Hou) 196,108; Russell Westbrook (OKC) 143,437; Steve Nash (LAL) 118,073; Tony Parker (SA) 69,983; Ricky Rubio (Min) 54,744; Manu Ginobili (SA) 47,800; O.J. Mayo (Dal) 36,495.