Giannis Antetokounmpo, LeBron James Lead NBA All-Star Game 1st Voting Results

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistJanuary 4, 2018

WASHINGTON, DC -  DECEMBER 17: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers handles the ball against the Washington Wizards on December 17, 2017 at Capital One Arena in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)
Ned Dishman/Getty Images

The NBA announced Thursday that Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo and Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James are sitting atop the first batch of voting returns for the 2018 All-Star Game. 

Jameswho is aiming for his 14th straight selection to the midseason exhibition, has accumulated more than 856,000 votes, while Antetokounmpo has totaled a shade over 863,000 as the top vote-getter.  

In the Western Conference, Golden State Warriors teammates Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry are leading the frontcourt and backcourt voting, respectively. 

Here's a complete look at the early balloting distributions: 

James, 33, is piecing together what can only be described as an MVP-caliber campaign in his 15th season.  

Through 38 games, the two-time All-Star MVP is averaging 27.5 points, 8.1 rebounds and a career-high 9.1 assists per game. He's also shooting 55.9 percent from the field and 38.3 percent from three with 5.8 offensive win shares

Only James Harden (6.6), who's second in Western Conference backcourt voting, has more. 

James said, according to ESPN.com's Nick Friedell:

"I feel good. This is my 15th year, but this is one of the best years I've had as far as how I feel and I want to continue that. I want to kind of try to break the mold for the next generation. So just take the narrative out of 'OK, you're past your prime when you get [to] 31, or you're past your prime in your 12th year in the league, or whatever the case may be.'"

Antetokounmpo, meanwhile, has stuffed stat sheets to an impressive degree while leading the Bucks to a 20-16 start. 

To date, the Greek Freak is averaging 29.1 points, 10.4 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.3 blocks while shooting 54.9 percent from the field. If Antetokounmpo can maintain those marks for the duration of the season, he would join David Robinson and Russell Westbrook as the only players in league history to average at least 29.0 points, 10.0 boards, 4.0 dimes and 1.5 steals over an entire campaign. 

Durant and Curry have continued to thrive as the league's most dynamic one-two punch for the Western Conference-leading Warriors. 

Durant, who is arguably the front-runner for Defensive Player of the Year, is averaging 25.9 points, 7.1 boards, 5.3 assists and 2.3 blocks a game. He's also flirting with the 50-40-90 club with shooting splits of .501/.390/.894 entering Thursday night. 

As a reminder, the NBA has ditched the classic East-West format for this year's tilt at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Feb. 18. 

Instead, the league and the National Basketball Players Association agreed to a new setup that will combine starters and reserves into one big pool of participants. 

Those players will be selected in a draft by the two leading vote-getters, who will be appointed captains for the respective sides. 

And as was the case last year, selections won't be left entirely up to the fans. 

Fans will comprise 50 percent of the vote, while players and select members of the media will each make up 25 percent of the final tally.   

Captains and starters will be announced Jan. 18 on TNT, while reserves, as voted on by NBA head coaches, will be revealed Jan 23. 

The complete All-Star teams will then be unveiled Jan. 25 on TNT (7 p.m. ET), although it's unclear if the order of the captains' picks will be revealed. 

       

Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference

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