The first count of the NBA All-Star Ballot finally arrived and there aren’t many surprises regarding the players who would start the game if it were today.
Just like last year, both conferences will be split into backcourt and frontcourt players, and with LeBron James leading the East and Kevin Durant on top of the West, both are slated to not only start, but also to feature once again in what has become one of the most-heated player rivalries in recent years.
Next to the Miami Heat star – who is also the reigning MVP and Finals MVP – in the Eastern Conference, Indiana Pacers’ Paul George and New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony are second and third, respectively, in the frontcourt ballot while in the backcourt, Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving and Heat’s Dwyane Wade are leading the voting.
In the Western Conference, on the other hand, Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin and Houston Rockets’ Dwight Howard are on pace to start in the frontcourt next to the current league-leading scorer whilst Chris Paul and Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant would start in the backcourt. Kobe’s presence is somewhat surprising given the fact that he only returned to the hardwood less than one week ago.
Lots of things could change though as the balloting ends on Jan. 20 next year and even though it’s unlikely to see new names overcoming to take a starter spot once they are announced on Jan. 23, names like LeBron, Durant and Kobe are all but locks to make the All-Star contest at the New Orleans Arena on Feb. 16, 2014.