NEW YORK, USA – Dallas’ Slovenian guard Luka Doncic edged reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo of Milwaukee for the overall lead in early NBA All-Star Game voting results released on Thursday, January 2 (Friday, January 3, Philippine time).
Doncic, last season’s NBA Rookie of the Year, topped all players with 1,073,957 fan votes with “Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo trailing by only 599 votes and Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James 3rd on 1,020,851.
Fans have 50% of the voting power to decide the 10 starters in this year’s All-Star Game at Chicago on February 16 while current NBA players voting counts 25% and a media panel counts for the final 25% to determine two guards and three frontcourt starters for the Eastern and Western conferences.
Voting will conclude on January 20 with starters and captains to be revealed on January 23. Each captain will select starting and reserve lineups from the available players regardless of conference. All-Star reserves will be revealed January 30.
Doncic topped the Western Conference guards with NBA scoring leader James Harden of the Houston Rockets well back in 2nd on 749,080 and Portland’s Damian Lillard a distant 3rd on 202,498.
James, a five-time NBA MVP, paced the West frontcourt with teammate Anthony Davis next on 955,246 and 2019 NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard of the Los Angeles Clippers 3rd in 740,657. A distant 4th was Clipper star Paul George on 280,894.
Antetokounmpo led East frontcourt balloting with Cameroonian big man Joel Embiid of Philadelphia second on 606,534 and his compatriot Pascal Siakam of reigning champion Toronto, last season’s NBA Most Improved Player, 3rd on 544,302. Miami’s Jimmy Butler was 4th on 431,483.
In the East backcourt, which features the tightest voting race for a starting berth, Atlanta’s Trae Young was the leader on 443,412 with Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving 2nd on 432,481 and Boston’s Kemba Walker in 3rd, only 450 votes behind Irving.
Australian Ben Simmons of Philadelphia ranked 6th among East guards in fan votes with 159,065. – Rappler.com