The NBA season is heating up, and we are starting to see which teams are playoff contenders and which teams are fighting for a top draft pick. We are also almost close to the All-Star game which will take place on February 18th, 2018 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles California. Voting began in December, and according to the official rules, the starters will be determined by the fans (50%), players (25%) and media (25%) vote.
In the first returns which were released six days ago, Milwaukee Bucks small forward Giannis Antetokounmpo was the overall leader in votes with 863,416. Followed by the Lebron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers (856,080 votes) and Golden State Warriors teammates Kevin Durrant (767,402 votes) and Stephen Curry (735,115 votes).
Today the NBA released the second returns on the All-Star voting for the Eastern and Western Conferences. King James took over his throne replacing Antetokounmpo as the highest vote-getter in the NBA. The Bucks forward is now second (1,480,954 votes) followed by Boston Celtics Kyrie Irving (1,370,643 votes), and the Warriors Curry (1,369,658 votes) and Durrant (1,326,059 votes). Voting not only decides the starters but the two captains of each team which is apart of the new All-Star format.
NBA All-Star 2018 Format
There will no longer be the traditional East vs. West format. The NBA decided to take a page out of the NFL’s playbook and have team captains and have players selected/drafted on to each team. Unlike the NFL the captains will not be former Hall of Fame players. The captains will be the All-Star starter from each conference who receives the most fan votes in his conference. Voting stops on Monday, January 15th so make sure you vote for your favorite players. TNT will reveal the All-Star starters plus the two captains on Thursday, January 18th, on their TNT NBA Tip-Off show with Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal, Kenny Smith, and host Ernie Johnson.
Eastern Conference Potential Starters and Captain
Captain: LeBron James
Starters Point Guard: Kyrie Irving (1,370,643 current votes)
Shooting Guard: Demar DeRozan (537,168 current votes)
Small Forward: LeBron James (1,622,838 current votes)
Power Forward: Giannis Antetokounmpo (1,480,954 current votes)
Center: Joel Embiid (784,287 current votes)
These are my predictions for the starters coming out of the Eastern Conference. No one is going to come close to the number of votes that James, Irving, and Antetokounmpo have so there is really only two spots available. One guard spot and one place in the frontcourt. I believe New York Knicks star Kristaps Porzingis will get a big push from New Yorkers in the coming days for that last frontcourt spot. But I just feel Joel Embiid’s greatness on the court and on social media around the country will help him land that spot. For the guard spot, the next closest player is Ben Simmons who I do not believe will get the votes to surpass DeRozan and the phenomenal season he is having.
Western Conference Potential Starters and Captain
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Captain: Stephen Curry
Starters Point Guard: Steph Curry (1,369,658 current votes)
Shooting Guard: Russell Westbrook (791,332 current votes)
Small Forward: Kevin Durrant (1,326,059 current votes)
Power Forward: Paul George (547,582 current votes)
Center: Anthony Davis (664,687 current votes)
These are my picks for the starters and captain coming out of the Western Conference. Since his return from an ankle injury, Steph Curry has been lighting up the box score which is why I believe he will edge out his teammate Durrant in votes to become captain. Because of the number of votes they already have Curry and Durant are locked as starters, leaving one guard position open and two frontcourt slots. Although he is a little under 200,000 votes behind James Harden, I believe Russell Westbrook will leapfrog him for the final guard spot mostly due to Harden’s current injury. For the last two frontcourt spots, I chose Anthony Davis who is currently second in frontcourt voting and Pual George. I think George will surpass Draymond Green and DeMarcus Cousins because of people liking him more than they like those two.