2021 NBA All-Star Game voting: Kevin Durant collects most votes after first returns; LeBron James leads West

With the NBA finalizing a deal to hold the 2021 All-Star Game in Atlanta on March 7, we’ll actually get to see the league’s best duke it out in the annual star-studded game. All-Star voting opened on Jan. 28 and runs through Feb. 16, and Thursday the league revealed the first results with the top 10 players named for each conference in the backcourt and frontcourt. 

As usual, fan voting counts for 50 percent of the final vote for the five starters named in each conference, with the media and coaches each having a 25 percent say in the starters. The top vote-getter in each conference is named a captain, and the two captains pick teams from the pre-selected pool of All-Stars. 

After the first returns, Kevin Durant leads all vote-getters in the league, with fellow Nets teammates Kyrie Irving and James Harden taking the Nos. 2 and 3 spots in the East backcourt respectively, behind Wizards star Bradley Beal. Out West, LeBron James comes out on top for all frontcourt players while also leading the conference in votes, and Stephen Curry returns to the top spot for guards after being sidelined last season with a broken hand.

Western Conference

LeBron James (LAL): 2,288,676

Stephen Curry (GSW): 2,113,178

Nikola Jokic (DEN): 1,477,975

Luka Doncic (DAL): 1,395,719

Kawhi Leonard (LAC): 1,285,777

Damian Lillard (POR): 998,853

Anthony Davis (LAL): 1,192,881

Ja Morant (MEM): 257,743

Paul George (LAC): 549,280

Donovan Mitchell (UTA): 236,850

Zion Williamson (NOP): 411,668

Devin Booker (PHX): 173,755

Andrew Wiggins (GSW): 264,781

Chris Paul (PHX): 128,127

Christian Wood (DET): 261,009

CJ McCollum (POR): 104,965

Brandon Ingram (NOP): 230,387

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (OKC): 99,286

Carmelo Anthony (POR): 179,310

Klay Thompson (GSW): 99,094

Eastern Conference

Kevin Durant (BKN): 2,302,705

Bradley Beal (WAS): 1,273,817

Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL): 1,752,185

Kyrie Irving (BKN): 1,093,611

Joel Embiid (PHI): 1,584,028

James Harden (BKN): 1,014,763

Jayson Tatum (BOS): 822,151

Jaylen Brown (BOS): 590,195

Jimmy Butler (MIA): 327,929

Zach LaVine (CHI): 486,547

Bam Adebayo (MIA): 307,498

Trae Young (ATL): 268,126

Domantas Sabonis (IND): 186,275

Collin Sexton (CLE): 207,218

Julius Randle (NYK): 175,325

Derrick Rose (DET): 183,899

Gordon Hayward (CHA): 159,767

Russell Westbrook (WAS): 137,641

Jerami Grant (DET): 134,487

Ben Simmons (PHI): 117,993

Nikola Jokic’s strong start to the season has garnered him significant attention amongst fans, as he ranks just behind LeBron in the West frontcourt, ahead of Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Third-year sensation Luka Doncic comes in at second behind Curry in guards, with Damian Lillard behind him by a wide margin.

Compared to previous years, where fans would vote for players who were unworthy of All-Star selections, like Zaza Pachulia, or Alex Caruso last year, there aren’t many puzzling names on this list. The biggest outlier, though, is Klay Thompson, who hasn’t played since the 2019 NBA Finals after tearing his ACL, then suffering a massive setback weeks before the 2020-21 season by tearing his Achilles tendon. His appearance on this list diminishes the performance of someone like Jamal Murray, who has had another career year with the Nuggets.

Fortunately, as more votes are counted within the next couple weeks, it will likely course correct itself, and Thompson may drop out of the top 10, while Murray will start to gain ground. Another notable absence is Jazz center Rudy Gobert, who despite seeing a slight decrease in points per game this season, is still having another solid season for a Utah team that is currently first in the West right now.

In the East, Jimmy Butler being as high as he is among frontcourt players despite only playing in nine games so far this season is weird, and seeing Derrick Rose on the list for guards is odd considering he hasn’t started a game at all this season.

Fans can fill out a ballot on the NBA’s site, as well as on Twitter by using the hashtag #NBAAllStar and the player’s name. The league allows fans to submit one ballot a day on the NBA website, and up to 10 times a day on Twitter. 


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