First round returns have been released for next month’s NBA All-Star Game which will take place in Orlando on February 26. The initial returns would give the Western Conference squad a distinct Southern California flavor; as four of the five players leading as starters play for either the Lakers or the Clippers.
Once again Lakers guard Kobe Bryant is the leading receiver of votes in the West as he and Clippers point guard Chris Paul top the list in the back-court. Last season’s NBA Rookie Of The Year Blake Griffin and the only non-Los Angeles player; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant currently would be starters at the forward slots. Lakers center Andrew Bynum is currently ahead of the pack at the pivot position.
Dwight Howard has received the most votes so far by the fans to man the middle in his home arena; joining him in the front-court right now are Miami Heat forward LeBron James and New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony. The 2011 NBA MVP Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose as well as Heat guard Dwyane Wade are topping the list in the back-court. Here are the complete returns from the first ballot:
Forwards: LeBron James (Mia) 640,789; Carmelo Anthony (NYK) 496,351; Amar’e Stoudemire (NYK) 178,797; Kevin Garnett (Bos) 173,161; Chris Bosh (Mia) 140,601; Paul Pierce (Bos) 94,071; Luol Deng (Chi) 85,086; Andrea Bargnani (Tor) 54,739; Carlos Boozer (Chi) 53,477; Hedo Turkoglu (Orl) 43,154.
Guards: Derrick Rose (Chi) 640,476; Dwyane Wade (Mia) 637,912; Rajon Rondo (Bos) 253,969; Ray Allen (Bos) 174,934; Deron Williams (NJN) 89,128; Jose Calderon (Tor) 42,929; John Wall (Was) 38,025; Richard Hamilton (Chi) 36,418; Kyrie Irving (Cle) 27,713; Joe Johnson (Atl) 23,384.
Centers: Dwight Howard (Orl) 754,737; Joakim Noah (Chi) 75,038; Tyson Chandler (NYK) 61,774; Joel Anthony (Mia) 41,832; JaVale McGee (Was) 24,713; Al Horford (Atl) 23,546
NBA WESTERN CONFERENCE
Forwards: Kevin Durant (OKC) 633,538; Blake Griffin (LAC) 394,264; Dirk Nowitzki (Dal) 231,832; Pau Gasol (LAL) 185,428; Kevin Love (Min) 143,814; LaMarcus Aldridge (Por) 118,268; Tim Duncan (SA) 81,783; Lamar Odom (Dal) 59,686; Metta World Peace (LAL) 39,006; Danilo Gallinari (Den) 34,438.
Guards: Kobe Bryant (LAL) 690,613; Chris Paul (LAC) 540,173; Ricky Rubio (Min) 133,520; Steve Nash (Pho) 118,922; Russell Westbrook (OKC) 107,197; Kyle Lowry (Hou) 90,725; Monta Ellis (GS) 63,696; Manu Ginobili (SA) 50,765; Jason Kidd (Dal) 49,596; Chauncey Billups (LAC) 42,657.
Centers: Andrew Bynum (LAL) 496,597; DeAndre Jordan (LAC) 134,961; Marc Gasol (Mem) 102,116; Nenê (Den) 94,167; Marcin Gortat (Pho) 62,631; Kendrick Perkins (OKC) 41,579.