NEW YORK (AFP) – Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry and Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant led the first results of fan voting for the NBA All-Star Game announced Thursday by the league.
Two-time NBA Most Valuable Player and three-time NBA champion Curry, who last month broke the NBA career record for 3-point baskets by sinking his 2,974th, set the overall pace by topping the Western Conference guards at 2,584,623 votes.
NBA scoring leader Durant, the 2014 NBA MVP and twice an NBA champion alongside Curry with the Warriors, led the Eastern Conference frontcourt with 2,360,435 votes.
The 71st NBA All-Star Game will be staged on February 20 at Cleveland. Weighted voting to decide All-Star starters will include 50% from fans and 25% each from players and a media panel.
Team captains will be the players who led each conference in voting. They will select rosters from available players regardless of conference.
Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, a four-time MVP and four-time league champion, led the Western Conference frontcourt with 2,018,725 votes.
The Eastern Conference backcourt was paced by 1,487,598 votes for Chicago’s DeMar DeRozan, who last week sank game-winning 3-pointers at the final buzzer on back-to-back nights, an unprecedented NBA feat.
In the voting for the pool of NBA All-Star Game starting spots, Durant is trailed in East frontcourt voting by Greek star Giannis Antetokounmpo of the reigning champion Milwaukee Bucks, who ranks third in overall voting with 2,145,835.
Philadelphia’s Cameroonian big man Joel Embiid was third in the final starting spot among East forward with 1,236,060 votes, nearly double the total of fourth place Jayson Tatum of Boston on 643,970.
The other East backcourt place behind DeRozan was held by Brooklyn’s James Harden with 892,065 votes but Atlanta’s Trae Young was a close third on 862,878.
Young ranks second among NBA scorers with 28.4 points a game with Antetokounmpo third on 27.9 followed by DeRozan on 26.9 and Curry on 26.8.
The second West backcourt spot behind Curry was held by Slovenia’s Luka Doncic of Dallas with 787,690 votes. Just behind him was Ja Morant of Memphis on 669,033.
In the West frontcourt positions behind James were Denver’s Nikola Jokic of Serbia on 1,649,809 and Paul George of the Los Angeles Clippers on 1,072,591. Just behind them were Golden State’s Andrew Wiggins on 933,355 and Draymond Green on 691,423.