The NBA released the first round of fan voting results for the 2014 All-Star Game on Thursday and there was only subtle movement at the top compared to last season.
Heat forward LeBron James was the overall leading vote-getter with more than 609,000 votes, narrowly edging Thunder forward Kevin Durant. The rest of the top five: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, Pacers forward Paul George and Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony.
In the final 2013 results, Bryant was the overall leading vote-getter, beating out (in order): James, Durant, Anthony and Heat guard Dwyane Wade.
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 round of returns:
- East: Kyrie Irving (Cavaliers), Wade, George, Anthony, James.
- West: Chris Paul (Clippers), Bryant, Durant, Blake Griffin (Clippers) and Dwight Howard (Rockets).
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.
The most noteworthy result from the early returns: if the votes hold, the East's starting lineup wouldn't include any players listed above 6-foot-8, forcing James to play center.
Also of note: Bryant's Achilles injury cost him his status as the West's leading vote-getter, with Durant claiming the title in the first round of balloting, but the Lakers guard is still tracking to be a shoo-in starter in what would be his 16th All-Star Game appearance.
Frontcourt: LeBron James (Mia) 609,336; Paul George (Ind) 489,335; Carmelo Anthony (NYK) 424,211; Roy Hibbert (Ind) 208,369; Chris Bosh (Mia) 156,364; Kevin Garnett (BKN) 102,825; Joakim Noah (Chi) 75,229; Jeff Green (Bos) 55,912; Luol Deng (Chi) 54,340; Tyson Chandler (NYK) 51,738; Andre Drummond (Det) 51,351; Carlos Boozer (Chi) 48,745; Paul Pierce (BKN) 45,145; Brook Lopez (BKN) 37,153; Josh Smith (Det) 32,025
Backcourt: Dwyane Wade (Mia) 396,279; Kyrie Irving (Cle) 365,712; Derrick Rose (Chi) 272,410; John Wall (Was) 124,851; Ray Allen (Mia) 99,464; Rajon Rondo (Bos) 80,889; Deron Williams (BKN) 44,282; George Hill (Ind) 42,536; Evan Turner (Phi) 33,605; Mario Chalmers (Mia) 32,996
Frontcourt: Kevin Durant (OKC) 607,407; Dwight Howard (Hou) 295,120; Blake Griffin (LAC) 292,925; Kevin Love (Min) 275,506; Tim Duncan (SA) 217,271; Anthony Davis (NO) 149,579; Pau Gasol (LAL) 133,199; LaMarcus Aldridge (Por) 132,818; Andre Iguodala (GS) 109,745; Dirk Nowitzki (Dal) 89,093; Chandler Parsons (Hou) 77,179; DeMarcus Cousins (Sac) 60,923; David Lee (GS) 60,015; Kawhi Leonard (SA) 55,023; Omer Asik (Hou) 53,827
Backcourt: Kobe Bryant (LAL) 501,215; Chris Paul (LAC) 393,313; Stephen Curry (GS) 327,449; Jeremy Lin (Hou) 240,404; James Harden (Hou) 198,667; Russell Westbrook (OKC) 149,065; Tony Parker (SA) 112,423; Ricky Rubio (Min) 63,096; Steve Nash (LAL) 60,782; Damian Lillard (Por) 55,847