Warriors guard Stephen Curry has moved past Clippers guard Chris Paul in the third round of 2014 All-Star fan voting returns, released Thursday by the NBA. If the results hold, Curry will claim a starting spot for the Western Conference team, supplanting Paul, who has started every year since 2009, with the exception of 2010, when he was injured.
Curry, who has yet to make an All-Star Game during his five-year career, has garnered 677,372 votes, topping Paul's tally of 651,073 by more than 26,000 votes. Paul had led Curry by roughly 51,000 votes in the second round of voting but recently sustained a separated shoulder that is expected to sideline him for six weeks.
Lakers guard Kobe Bryant remains the leading vote-getter among Western Conference backcourt players with 844,538 votes, even though he is currently sidelined with a knee injury that puts his availability for the Feb. 16 game in New Orleans into question.
"I probably won't be able to come back soon enough to be able to make my stamp or my mark on the game," Bryant said Sunday, according to the Los Angeles Times. "My advice would be to vote for some of the younger players, the Damian Lillards of the world, because they're more than deserving to be out there and play during that weekend."
The Bryant/Curry backcourt would be joined by Thunder forward Kevin Durant, Clippers forward Blake Griffin and Rockets center Dwight Howard as the West's starting lineup if the current results nod. Durant (1,054,209), Howard (509,116) and Griffin (500,964) were all projected starters after the first and second rounds of voting, but the latter two must hold off Timberwolves forward Kevin Love (483,031) and Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge (404,793) to claim their starting spots.
There were no changes to the Eastern Conference's projected starting lineup in the third round of voting: Heat guard Dwyane Wade, Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving, Heat forward LeBron James, Pacers forward Paul George and Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony are still on track for starting spots. All five possess vote tallies that are appear comfortable enough to hold up through the process.
Curry, Irving and George would all be first-time All-Star starters if the current results hold.
If a player is selected as a starter by the fans as a starter but is unable to play due to injury, the league office appoints a roster replacement. The conference's designated coach then selects a new starter from his roster of reserves. For instance, Celtics guard Rajon Rondo was unable to start last season due to injury. The league named Nets center Brook Lopez as his replacement on the roster, and Heat coach Erik Spoelstra elected to insert Heat forward Chris Bosh into the starting lineup.
James remains the overall leading vote-getter with 1,076,063 votes. Durant is the West's leading vote-getter, trailing James for the overall lead by less than 22,000 votes.
Here's a look at the latest results.
1. LeBron James (Mia) 1,076,063
2. Paul George (Ind) 899,671
3. Carmelo Anthony (NYK) 702,869
4. Roy Hibbert (Ind) 385,964
5. Chris Bosh (Mia) 304,986
6. Kevin Garnett (BKN) 164,021
7. Joakim Noah (Chi) 128,201
8. Andre Drummond (Det) 120,844
9. Tyson Chandler (NYK) 101,637
10. Jeff Green (Bos) 96,336
11. Luol Deng (Cle) 90,730
12. Carlos Boozer (Chi) 80,271
13. Paul Pierce (BKN) 72,581
14. David West (Ind) 61,612
15. Brook Lopez (BKN) 58,477
1. Dwyane Wade (Mia) 718,109
2. Kyrie Irving (Cle) 652,522
3. Derrick Rose (Chi) 323,099
4. John Wall (Was) 278,516
5. Ray Allen (Mia) 190,086
6. Rajon Rondo (Bos) 133,448
7. Deron Williams (BKN) 95,309
8. George Hill (Ind) 89,428
9. Lance Stephenson (Ind) 77,364
10. DeMar DeRozan (Tor) 68,985
1. Kevin Durant (OKC) 1,054,209
2. Dwight Howard (Hou) 509,116
3. Blake Griffin (LAC) 500,964
4. Kevin Love (Min) 483,031
5. LaMarcus Aldridge (Por) 404,793
6. Tim Duncan (SAS) 385,342
7. Anthony Davis (NO) 223,956
8. Pau Gasol (LAL) 207,213
9. Andre Iguodala (GS) 192,616
10. Dirk Nowitzki (Dal) 156,792
11. DeMarcus Cousins (Sac) 148,604
12. David Lee (GS) 141,509
13. Chandler Parsons (Hou) 135,387
14. Omer Asik (Hou) 101,372
15. Kawhi Leonard (SA) 91,859
1. Kobe Bryant (LAL) 844,538
2. Stephen Curry (GS) 677,372
3. Chris Paul (LAC) 651,073
4. Jeremy Lin (Hou) 471,980
5. James Harden (Hou) 338,788
6. Russell Westbrook (OKC) 260,499
7. Tony Parker (SA) 195,328
8. Damian Lillard (Por) 162,363
9. Klay Thompson (GS) 108,404Ricky Rubio