NBA

NBA All-Star Game 2021: Takeaways from the first fan vote returns

The NBA revealed the first fan vote returns for the 2021 NBA All-Star Game on Friday.

Just like in years past, fans will account for 50% of the final vote for this year's All-Star Game, the details of which are still being negotiated between the league and its players' association. The other 50% is made up by current players and a media panel, with each side accounting for 25% of the vote.

Voting began on Jan. 28 and will conclude at 10:29 a.m. IST on Feb. 17.

VOTE FOR 2021 NBA ALL-STAR STARTERS HERE!

Now, onto takeaways from the results…

The results

Top 10 vote-getters

  1. Kevin Durant - 2,302,705

  2. LeBron James - 2,288,676

  3. Stephen Curry - 2,113,178

  4. Giannis Antetokounmpo - 1,752,185

  5. Joel Embiid - 1,584,028

  6. Nikola Jokic - 1,477,975

  7. Luka Doncic - 1,395,719

  8. Kawhi Leonard - 1,285,777

  9. Bradley Beal - 1,273,817

  10. Anthony Davis - 1,192,881

​If voting ended today, fan-voted starters would be…

Eastern Conference Western Conference
Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards Guard Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets Guard Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks
Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets Frontcourt LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks Frontcourt Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets
Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers Frontcourt Kawhi Leonard, LA Clippers

The tightest races for starting spots

Among players with the widest margin of votes are the three overall leading vote-getters: Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and LeBron James each lead by a margin that would suggest they are well on their way to starting in the upcoming All-Star Game.

Upon a closer look, the two most interesting races are currently in the Western Conference frontcourt and the Eastern Conference backcourt.

After LeBron, it appears that there will be a tight race between three players for the two spots in the West's frontcourt. While Nikola Jokic is currently in second place with nearly 1.5 million votes, less than 100,000 votes separate Kawhi Leonard and Anthony Davis.

Both Leonard and Davis were voted as starters last season but with Jokic's emergence as an MVP favourite early on this season, AD might need the aid of Laker Nation to get back ahead of Kawhi.

In the East, the league's leading scorer in Bradley Beal is doubling as the leading vote-getter with nearly 200,000 more votes than Nets guard Kyrie Irving, which is where things get interesting. At the first returns, Irving leads his backcourt mate in James Harden by fewer than 80,000 votes, by far the tightest race of them all.

Could the Nets' team success allow both Irving and Harden to surpass Beal, whose Wizards are struggling? Or is there only room for one of Brooklyn's guards in the All-Star starting lineup?

Where are the Raptors?

After being represented by Pascal Siakam and Kyle Lowry in 2020, there are no Raptors present among the top 10 of either position group in the first All-Star voting returns.

Among Raptors looking to make an All-Star push are Siakam, who was voted in as a starter last season and Lowry, who has played in each of the last six All-Star Games. Also entering the All-Star conversation is Fred VanVleet, who, after scoring a career-high 54 points in a win over the Orlando Magic, is averaging a team-high 20.4 points to go along with 6.2 assists and 4.3 rebounds per contest.

Also receiving votes

Of potential first-time All-Stars, Jaylen Brown (590,195 votes) and Zach LaVine (486,547 votes) lead the way as they fall within the top five of Eastern Conference guards

Canadians Andrew Wiggins (264,781 votes) and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (99,286 votes) each fall in the top 10 of leading vote-getters in their respective position group in the Western Conference.

MORE: Who are potential first-time All-Stars in 2021?

Carmelo Anthony (179,310 votes) joins LeBron as another 18th-year forward that falls in the top 10 in Western Conference forwards. 20-year-old Zion Williamson (411,668) is the youngest player to earn enough votes to enter the top 10.

Despite being out for the entirety of the 2020-21 season, Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson earned the 10th most votes among all Western Conference guards with 99,094.

Notable players missing

Aside from the missing Raptors, Jazz centre Rudy Gobert, Bucks forward Khris Middleton and Celtics guard Kemba Walker are the other 2020 All-Stars that did not receive enough votes for top-10 consideration in early returns.

The absence of Walker, a four-time All-Star, is likely largely related to an early-season knee issue that held him out of Boston's first 11 games but there is plenty of time for him to make ground.

In addition to the players that were All-Stars in 2020, Nuggets guard Jamal Murray is a potential first-time All-Star that is a notable omission while Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan is not among the top 10 despite putting forth a season worth a return to the All-Star stage.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.

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