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All-Star 2019

NBA All-Star Voting: Expert picks for Eastern Conference Starters

Voting for the 2019 NBA All-Star Game opened on Christmas Day and runs through Jan. 21.

MORE: How to vote for 2019 NBA All-Star Game

Our NBA.com staff weighs in on who they would pick for starters in the Eastern Conference.

Micah Adams (@MicahAdams13): Kawhi Leonard, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid might be the single easiest trio to pick for a frontcourt in All-Star game history. All three are MVP candidates. There's no other threat to usurp one of the three spots.

My first backcourt spot goes to Kemba Walker. I know he's fallen off in recent weeks, but there was a stretch where he led the entire league in scoring and dominated the NBA discussion like no other. If you're drawing up early season narratives, Walker carrying the Hornets has to be near the top of the list. Add in the game being played in Charlotte and Walker deserves not only to start but to be the last player introduced.

My last spot comes down to Kyrie Irving and Kyle Lowry. The tiebreaker is the Celtics' OT win over the Raptors on Nov. 16 in which Irving finished with 43 points and 11 assists while scoring or assisting on 15 of Boston's final 16 made field goals. Given Lowry shot just 3-12 in that same game, one that could have seeding ramifications, and Irving gets the nod.

Scott Rafferty (@crabdribbles): I have the same starters in the frontcourt with Kawhi Leonard, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid.

In the backcourt, I'm taking Kemba Walker and Kyrie Irving.

Kyle Lowry has a strong case to start alongside Irving, but he's missed some time with injuries and went through a rough shooting slump to start the month of December that saw him score a total of 15 points over a four-game stretch in which the Raptors went just 1-3.

Walker has suffered through a slump of his own, but he's carrying a much bigger load on a Hornets team that is fighting to be in the playoffs picture. He's also had some absurd performances, like when he scored 60 points against the Philadelphia 76ers and 43 points on the Boston Celtics.

For me, that gives Walker the slight edge heading into the New Year.

Gilbert McGregor (@GMcGregor21): The Eastern Conference frontcourt is a no-brainer if I've ever seen one - there are no candidates more worthy than Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid and Kawhi Leonard, who each are at the top of the conversation for the best overall player in the conference as well.

The backcourt is where I had a tough time making a final decision.

While I took Ben Simmons and Victor Oladipo in consideration and seriously contemplated adding Kyle Lowry, Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker get the nod from me.

Kyle Irving (@KyleIrv_): Like everyone else has already said, it's fast break layup-level of difficulty to select the Eastern Conference frontcourt. Giannis Antetokounmpo is leading the MVP race at this point in my opinion, while Kawhi Leonard and Joel Embiid are also finding themselves in those conversations, making all three easy selections to start.

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The backcourt doesn't give me much trouble to pick either. Kyrie Irving has been quietly incredible in Boston averaging career-highs in assists, rebounds and steals while remaining consistent in his scoring. He gets the nod over Kyle Lowry, as Lowry has been shakey over the last 10-or-so games.

The other guard has to be Kemba Walker, whose 25.2 points per game is 13th in the NBA. He has his Charlotte Hornets, who are hosting this year's All-Star Game, in playoff contention in the East and without him, they'd be a lottery team.

Carlan Gay (@TheCarlanGay): I think the frontcourt is already set in stone with Kawhi, Giannis and Joel Embiid. The backcourt is where you'll get some debate.

I'm taking Kyle Lowry and Kemba Walker to start in the backcourt.

Lowry has gone through a tough stretch recently, but he's the most important player on the league's top team. There's no way the Raptors shouldn't have two starters in the All-Star game, and Kawhi and Lowry should be the two.

Kemba has had some incredible performances this season, and even though the Hornets have been up and down this season as a team, without him they'd probably be looking towards rebuilding next year.

Depending on how positioning shakes out, I could be talked into putting Victor Oladipo in over Kemba and maybe even Jimmy Butler.

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