Fans want the biggest names — and established stars — on the All-Star Stage in Salt Lake City in February, and it’s hard to argue with them.
Kevin Durant and LeBron James are leading the fan vote and would be the captains picking their teams this year, based on the first round of fan voting for the 2023 All-Star Game, which was released today. Fans are looking at established high-profile stars having good seasons – some of them missed time due to injuries, but that didn’t bother voters.
Here is the list after the first round of fan voting, with their vote totals:
1. LeBron James (Lakers) 3,168,694
2. Nikola Jokic (Nuggets) 2,237,768
3. Anthony Davis (Lakers) 2,063,325
4. Zion Williamson (Pelicans) 1,924,222
5. Andrew Wiggins (Warriors) 1,123,898
6. Paul George (Shearers) 955 896
7. Lauri Markkanen (Jazz) 466,988
8. Draymond Green (Warriors) 405,245
9. Kawhi Leonard (Clippers) 303 477
10. Kevon Looney (Warriors) 245,985
1. Stephen Curry (Warriors) 2,715,520
2. Luka Doncic (Mavericks) 2,388,502
3. Ja Morant (Grizzlies) 915 507
4. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Thunder) 911 774
5. Klay Thompson (Warriors) 514,104
6. Russell Westbrook (Lakers) 448 224
7. Damian Lillard (Trail Blazers) 314 158
8. Devin Booker (Suns) 224,961
9. Austin Reaves (Lakers) 144,520
10. Jordan Poole (Warriors) 138,392
1. Kevin Durant (Nets) 3,118,545
2. Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks) 2,998,327
3. Joel Embiid (76ers) 2,226,712
4. Jayson Tatum (Celtics) 2,178,330
5. Jimmy Butler (Heat) 477,008
6. Pascal Siakam (Rapporteurs 324 632
7. Kyle Kuzma (Wizards) 234,035
8. Paolo Banchero (Magic) 212,417
9. Nic Claxton (nets) 160,407
10. Jarrett Allen (Riders) 121,561
1. Kyrie Irving (Nets) 2,071,715
2. Donovan Mitchell (Riders) 1,637,374
3. James Harden (76ers) 1,161,593
4. Jaylen Brown (Celtics) 1,032,522
5. Trae Young (Falcons) 791,354
6. DeMar DeRozan (Bulls) 544,629
7. LaMelo Ball (Hornets) 299 113
8. Tyrese Haliburton (Pacers) 281,691
9. Derrick Rose (Bulls) 220 229
10. Darius Garland (Riders) 143,826
Here are some thoughts on this:
• The Eastern Conference frontcourt remains the most difficult decision: Durant, Antetokounmpo, Embiid and Tatum all deserve to start. One of them has to come off the bench. There’s no right or wrong answer here, and it’s likely that player and media votes for these spots will be as close as fan votes (remember, that’s 50% fans, 25% players, 25% media). That is to say, the vote of the fans can prevail.
• How important are missed games in the selection of All-Stars? Should it matter? The Warriors’ Curry and the Lakers’ Davis both played well enough to be All-Star starters, but both also missed a lot of time last month due to injuries. While it might affect them in things like MVP or All-NBA voting at the end of the season, should this be an exhibition game for the fans? With their votes, these fans made it clear that it didn’t matter.
• It will be interesting to see where the player and media votes fall on Kyrie Irving. Could they replace him as a starter in favor of Harden or someone else?
• Surprising Commissions: No Jalen Brunson among the Eastern Guards? No Bam Adebayo in the east frontcourt? They both deserve votes (Adebayo definitely deserves to be there in Salt Lake City).
• Also, no one in the top 10 in that cherished Minnesota Timberwolves frontcourt.
• There is a huge gap in the fan vote for the West guards between the top two – Curry and Doncic – and third place Ja Morant. Probably too much for him to make up for.
• Tyrese Haliburton is too low, he is having a fantastic season. He should be considered for a starting spot.
• Russell Westbrook and Austin Reaves being in the West’s top 10 guards shows the power of the Lakers’ voting bloc.
• Other potential first-time All-Stars have entered the fan top 10: Lauri Markkanen, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Kyle Kuzma top that list. Rookie Paolo Banchero was also among the top 10 frontline vote-getters in the East.
• Fans vote for starters — two guards, three front rowers in each conference — but each team’s replacements are chosen by a vote of NBA coaches.
• Fan All-Star voting continues on the NBA app and NBA.com until January 21 (there is no social media voting this year). On January 6, 13, 16 and 20, all fan votes will count triple.
• As in past years, the fan vote will count for 50% of the total for each player, with NBA player votes counting for 25% and votes from an NBA media panel representing the remaining 25%.