The usual slate of names topped the second round of All-Star voting results released on Thursday.
LeBron James and Kevin Durant led all players with over 4,000,000 votes apiece, while Giannis Antetokounmpo and Steph Curry appeared near the top of their respective conference leaderboards. But there were a couple of curious names who crashed the All-Star party.
Lakers guard Alex Caruso checked in at No. 10 in the voting among Western Conference guards on Thursday. Los Angeles's backup guard has become a fan favorite in recent seasons, though he doesn't exactly sport the statistical profile of a typical All-Star. Caruso is scoring just 5.5 points per game in 2020–21, and he's averaging fewer minutes than the likes of Solomon Hill, Denzel Valentine and Saddiq Bey. It looks as though the Lakers fans are making their voices heard to an outsized degree in the voting process.
Caruso isn't the lone irregularity in the Western Conference ballot. Klay Thomspon sits No. 8 among guards, finishing just behind Chris Paul despite playing a whopping zero games this season. But should we really be surprised by Thompson's current inclusion? Warriors fans nearly made Zaza Pachulia an All-Star in 2017. They shouldn't be underestimated.
It's doubtful we'll see Caruso during All-Star weekend despite his high voting totals. Seven reserves in each conference are selected by coaches, while the starting five players are still only 50% determined by fan vote. Caruso is a true household name in Los Angeles. But it's hard to envision us watching him take the floor in Atlanta on March 7.