The NBA released the first fan vote returns from the 2019 All-Star Game ballot and while you'll see a lot of expected names, there are also some unexpected ones.
Something key to remember is fan vote only accounts for 50.0 percent of how the All-Star starters are determined. The other 50.0 percent comes from the players and media.
LeBron/Steph and Giannis/Kyrie lead the first returns of #NBAAllStar Voting 2019 presented by @Google!- 2019 NBA All-Star (@NBAAllStar) January 3, 2019
Vote on https://t.co/R6fBO5LSAS, the NBA App or by searching for your favorite player or team on Google.
Vote now! https://t.co/gcW4K59HC0 pic.twitter.com/JIZFyIC2Pu
Here are some takeaways from these results.
The top-10 overall vote-getters
1. LeBron James (LAL) - 1,083,363
2. Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL) - 991,561
3. Kyrie Irving (BOS) - 910,329
4. Stephen Curry (GSW) - 793,111
5. Kawhi Leonard (TOR) - 774,172
6. Derrick Rose (MIN) - 698,086
7. Luka Dončić (DAL) - 679,839
8. Kevin Durant (GSW) - 659,968
9. Joel Embiid (PHI) - 648,002
10. Anthony Davis (NOP) - 605,417
If the voting ended today, your starters would be...
|Western Conference||Eastern Conference|
|Guard - Stephen Curry||Guard - Kyrie Irving|
|Guard - Derrick Rose||Guard - Dwyane Wade|
|Forward - LeBron James||Forward - Giannis Antetokounmpo|
|Forward - Luka Doncic||Forward - Kawhi Leonard|
|Forward - Kevin Durant||Forward - Joel Embiid|
Most would have expected Curry, James, Durant, Irving, Antetokounmpo, Leonard and Embiid. The major surprises come from Derrick Rose, Luka Doncic and Dwyane Wade.
They all have their reasons for receiving a popular fan vote with Rose playing his best basketball since his MVP season, Doncic having an amazing rookie year and Wade playing in his final season of his career, but I don't think anyone could have expected these results.
The tightest races for starting spots
Final guard spot in the East
Dwyane Wade currently has the second guard spot in the East, but with media and players' votes accounting for 50.0 percent of who starts, it's unlikely that holds. That means the race is on for that second spot - Kemba Walker leads the way with 319,519 votes but it's a close margin. Ben Simmons is next with 259,993 followed by Victor Oladipo (198,009) and Kyle Lowry (180,571).
Final guard spot in the West
Derrick Rose is in a similar spot as Wade, holding the second guard spot in the West. Should that fail to hold, it's a close race between the league's last two MVPs. James Harden would be next in line with 541,606 votes followed by Russell Westbrook with 459,792 votes.
Final forward spot in the West
Many believed LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Anthony Davis were close to a lock for the three forward spots - fans of Luka Doncic are clearly making that less evident.
LeBron was the overall top vote-getter and certainly holds a spot, but Doncic is next with 679,839 votes. It will be interesting to see if the Rookie of the Year favourite can get the vote from the players and the media.
If not, next in line is Durant (659,968) followed by Anthony Davis (605,417) and Paul George (580,055).
Other surprising notables
• Steven Adams (261,327) has more votes than Nikola Jokic (235,272), the best player on the best team in the Western Conference.
• James Harden, the reigning league MVP who has been on a tear throughout the first voting period, has the 12th most votes overall.
• Vince Carter has the 7th most votes among Eastern Conference forwards (76,022)
• Jeremy Lin has the 8th most votes among Eastern Conference guards (62,573)