The NBA released the first returns of the NBA All-Star balloting. It comes as no surprise that LeBron James leads all with 552,967 votes. However, Stephen Curry remains close at second overall with 549,095 votes. As of now, the All-Star starters would be:
G: John Wall (Wizards)
G: Dwyane Wade (Heat)
F: LeBron James (Cavaliers)
F: Carmelo Anthony (Knicks)
F: Pau Gasol (Bulls)
G: Stephen Curry (Warriors)
G: Kobe Bryant (Lakers)
F: Anthony Davis (Pelicans)
F: Blake Griffin (Clippers)
F: Marc Gasol (Grizzlies)
Steph Curry looks like a lock to start the ASG for a second consecutive year. Last year, he finished with 1,047,281 total votes which was over 58,000 votes ahead of Kobe Bryant (second among Western Conference guards) according to Basketball Reference. Yet with under a month left until the conclusion of All-Star balloting (voting ends on January 19), how does the other Splash Brother, Klay Thompson stack up against the other Western Conference guards?
Bryant, the second highest vote getter among Western Conference guards had 988,884 total votes last season. For Thompson to reach that plateau, he would have to get approximately 898,000 votes by January 19 which is a huge stretch. While this is just an estimated benchmark, Thompson would have to leapfrog Bryant, James Harden, Chris Paul and Rajon Rondo to earn a starting spot.
It seems that Kobe will most likely maintain the second starting guard slot despite many of his peers playing at All-Star levels. In spite of this, Thompson could still make the Western Conference All-Star team as a reserve by coaches vote.
NBA coaches vote on two guards, three frontcourt players and two wild cards. In recent years, the West has gone with two guards as wild card choices because of the depth of the position in the conference. In this sense, I believe James Harden, Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook will be guaranteed reserve spots. As a result, the final wild card might come down to Damian Lillard and Klay Thompson.
The West is filled with an array of talented guards and unfortunately, players will be snubbed again this year. Klay Thompson is having an exceptional year and definitely warrants All-Star consideration. Although it may be disappointing if he does not make team, we can count on Steph to represent Dub Nation in NYC.