East On Verge Of Ushering In 2 New All-Star Game Starters

HANG TIME SOUTHWEST — Garnering nearly 900,000 fan votes, the NBA’s Eastern Conference is on the verge of ushering a changing of the guard that could last a decade or more. Indiana Pacers forward Paul George is virtually assured of making his first All-Star Game start in little more than a month.

After the third returns of NBA All-Star balloting released Thursday afternoon, George ranks second in votes among East players behind only two-time reigning MVP LeBron James (1,076,063) of the Miami Heat, and third overall behind Western Conference MVP candidate Kevin Durant (1,054,209) of the Oklahoma City Thunder. George, averaging 23.0 ppg and 6.1 rpg, made his first All-Star appearance last year as a reserve. He is now set to replace fading veteran and future of Hall-of-Famer Kevin Garnett.

NBA All-Star 2014The 63rd NBA All-Star Game will be held Feb. 16 at the New Orleans Arena. Fan voting concludes on Jan. 20 and the starters will be announced live on TNT on Jan. 23. From there it will be up to the the coaches in each conference to fill out their respective rosters with seven reserves each.

George’s inclusion as a starter also virtually assures the East of starting an all-small forward frontcourt as James and the New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony (702,869), who is third in votes, round out that category. Indiana center Roy Hibbert (385,964) is fourth, but well off the pace.

The East’s backcourt is also set to ring in a new starter, although Kyrie Irving‘s first start — and second consecutive All-Star appearance — might not be of the changing-of-the-guard type just yet because of injuries to Boston’s Rajon Rondo and Chicago’s Derrick Rose. Miami’s All-Star starting stalwart Dwyane Wade (718,109) leads all East backcourt candidates in votes. Irving is second (652,522). Rose (323,099), despite playing in just 10 games before suffering another knee injury, is third.

In the Western Conference, Durant is likely to be joined in frontcourt again by Los Angeles Clippers big man Blake Griffin (500,964), third in votes, and Rockets center Dwight Howard (509,116), second in votes. Howard made his West debut last season with the Lakers. Minnesota’s Kevin Love (483,031) could still make a late charge at a starting spot while Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge (404,793) is more a long shot.

Injuries will play a major role in the West’s lineup. Lakers star Kobe Bryant (844,538), out with a fractured knee, recently told fans to stop voting for him and to funnel votes to younger players in what is a crowded field of deserving candidates. Bryant, who likely won’t be ready to play in the All-Star Game, although that’s not certain, remains the top voter-getter in the backcourt.

However, there is interesting news to report: Golden State’s Steph Curry (677,372) has moved into a starting position ahead of Pacific Division foe Chris Paul (651,073) of the Clippers. It’s difficult to say how much, if at all, Paul’s separated right shoulder suffered last Friday affected voting. Paul is expected to miss at least six weeks with the injury.

Houston’s backcourt of Jeremy Lin (471,980) and James Harden (338,788) sit fourth and fifth, respectively.

As for hometown flavor, the only member of the New Orleans Pelicans receiving enough votes to be in the top 10 at their respective position is forward Anthony Davis (223,956). He’s averaging a double-double, leads the league in blocked shots and will certainly be high on the West coaches’ list to be included as a reserve.

22 Comments

  1. Father says:

    Why haven’t NBA.com changed this comments system to Facebook connect commenting system? This system is absolutely useless. You can’t even ‘like’ another person’s comment

  2. NyKnck2013 says:

    All this hollering about Damian Lillard but people ARE FAILING TO REALIZE THAT THIS TOPIC IS ABOUT THE “EAST” NOT WEST !

  3. Badgers says:

    Anyone who votes for players that are out for the season, ie. Derrick Rose, should be banned from voting on all future all star events

  4. okc2014 says:

    Russell Westbrook would never post something like that. He is a winner and an optimist!

  5. Ray says:

    There will be a huge controversy if J.Lin makes the allstar game this year.

  6. Russell Westbrook says:

    Guys, I should be in the starting lineup if not for my injury. I’m gonna be out for a while!

  7. Jacquio says:

    Aldridge not being a starter is a crime.

  8. Damian Lillard says:

    Guys I’m gonna make the All-Star game remember the fans can only vote the starting lineup the coaches pick the reserves! See you in New Orleans!

  9. kobeballhog says:

    it shows how fans vote, it aint the real basketball fans that votes its these fanboys like kobe fanboys etc. who root only with one player but doesnt know how to appreciate true talents, look at the votes, garnet pierce still getting votes? oh my gosh, do these people see how awful they been playing this season? kobe? almost hadnt played the whole season, there are more deserving players out there who is worthy of these votes.

  10. wolvesfan says:

    ppl Lilliard is a sophomore player., he will play to freshmann and sophomore games.. he will play next year at all star games as point guard starter for sure…

  11. Same old stuff says:

    Guys like Aldridge and Lillard should be voted in. Bryant who’s hardly played and been mediocre when he has definately should not. Popularity seems to count for everything.

  12. The Other Guy says:

    I agree Lillard deserves to be there, but he will get a spot in on the roster. Don’t forget though with the way too many people vote this is just a popularity contest.

  13. lillard4allstar says:

    don’t worry lillard is gonna get voted in all the guards who were gonna play over him are injured in cp3, westbrook, and kobe so hopefully he makes it he really deserves it. he’s already top 5 guard and will top 3 next year

  14. MAC says:

    People Look on the STAT of DAMIAN LILLARD than Jeremy Lin
    i think lillard is deserve to be in all-star team in west

  15. vman says:

    lilard

  16. dustydreamnz says:

    Lillard is West.

  17. theholyspectator says:

    all star voting isnt about picking talented players on the court per say, its more about picking players that are stars that bring a large community/fan base…dudes who have the celeb status…players that are well known world wide…or getting media attention

  18. jhun_dino2000@yahoo.com says:

    where is damian lillard the kid is bad man to missed.

  19. johnny aces says:

    where is DAMIAN LLILARD,VOTE FOR THE GUY,PPL…HE IS MILES AHEAD OF LIN…whose have whole china behind him to vote…LLILARD deserve invitation…