NBA All Star Game

LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant Lead Second Return of All-Star Voting

USA Today
Dan FavaleFeatured ColumnistDecember 26, 2013

The NBA All-Star ballots are in. Again.

Leading the charge are LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant—the usual suspects. There are plenty of other faces sprinkled in too, stars like Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony.

So yeah, the All-Star teams are once again shaping up as expected. Here's a look at what each conference's starting lineup would look like if voting concluded now:

Projected All-Star Starting Lineups
PGSGSFPFC
EastK. IrvingD. WadeP. GeorgeC. AnthonyL. James
WestC. PaulK. BryantK. DurantB. GriffinD. Howard
https://twitter.com/NBAAllStar

Most of us could've probably predicted this is what the latest returns would look like, just like they did the first time around. But that shouldn't prevent you from savoring every last chance to put your two cents in.

 

Eastern Conference Frontcourt

INDIANAPOLIS - DECEMBER 10:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat handles the ball against Paul George #24 of the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on December 10, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees t
Ron Hoskins/Getty Images

Those who voted, pat yourselves on the back. This one's perfect.

LeBron and Paul George should have always been the top two. George is playing out of his mind, while LeBron continues to defy what we know about efficiency.

Some will gripe about Anthony's continued success, but he deserves to be third, something Bleacher Report's Adam Fromal previously took exception with:

It's the Carmelo Anthony selection that's a little more questionable, as the New York Knicks superstar has struggled with his shot and been unable to lead his team to a successful record. Roy Hibbert (No. 4) would be a more deserving candidate, and you could make a convincing argument for Andre Drummond or Luol Deng as well.

While those are all nice choices, the starting power forward should be 'Melo. He's led the New York Knicks in scoring every game he's played, and the team itself is awful, so he needs to see some form of positive reinforcement. Plus, his ankle is (probably) swollen the size of Raymond Felton's paunch after Thanksgiving dinner, meaning he could use some good news.

Also, LeBron at center? Yes, please.

 

Eastern Conference Backcourt

Feb 24, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat shooting guard Dwyane Wade (3) is pressured by Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving (2) during the first half at the American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

This is not all right.

I have no qualms about Kyrie Irving and Dwyane Wade starting. Though neither are a necessary fixture, they've both been balling of late.

My issue is with Derrick Rose. The kid is injured. Why vote for him? Even if he were to win—which he won't—he's not going to play.

Fans did the right thing in keeping the ailing, albeit freakishly talented, Rajon Rondo out of the top four. Rose's situation should be no different.

Here's also hoping John Wall gets picked as a reserve. His agility was made for exhibition-style All-Star play.

 

Western Conference Frontcourt

DENVER, CO - December 17: Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder looks on during the game against the Denver Nuggets on December 17, 2013 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloa
Bart Young/Getty Images

Right on, Durant.

It's simply awesome that Durant remains the West's leading vote-getter. He's openly displeased about constantly finishing second or worse in everything, so this is a good win.

Starting him alongside Dwight Howard also makes too much sense at this point, since Superman is playing like it's 2009 and the rest of the Western Conference is his punching bag.

It was debatable whether he deserved to start last year. It's not open for discussion this season—he's earned it.

Could we exit Blake Griffin's bandwagon, though? I won't even say he hasn't earned an All-Star selection, but he certainly doesn't deserve to start over Kevin Love, who's been so dominant, it's like he's playing NBA Jam on easy mode.

Video game numbers like his should see the starting lineup. If 25,000-plus fans would now kindly ensure he eclipses Griffin, that would be great.

If not Love, then LaMarcus Aldridge for sure. 

 

Western Conference Backcourt

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 16:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers stands during a free throw against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on December 16, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloadin
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Oh boy.

Look, Kobe is great, but he shouldn't be the second-leading vote-getter in the West. Not this season. 

Although his presence here attests to the Mamba's global influence, he's played in six games this season. Six. He's won almost as many championships.

Someone else like Stephen Curry should be bringing up the rear behind Chris Paul at No. 2. And Damian Lillard needs some All-Star dap over Jeremy Lin. So does Russell Westbrook. Pretty much any starting guard you can think of does.

Come on now, guys. You have the power. Who knows if Kobe will even be healthy in time? Do you even want him to be? He could re-injure himself All-Star weekend. Surely, you don't want that to happen.

Remember:

You are now free to do the Peter Parker and remedy the issues we've tackled here.

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