Highlighting three spots that look like prime three-point targets.As of this writing, there are multiple games with props not yet up, so keep your eye on players like Evan Fournier, Keldon Johnson, Devin Booker and Klay Thompson.
The NBA released the second fan vote returns for the 2022 NBA All-Star Game on Thursday, Jan. 13.
The first fan vote returns showed that Warriors star Stephen Curry and Nets star Kevin Durant were frontrunners to captain the All-Star teams, and that hasn't changed in the second fan vote returns. Lakers star LeBron James has leapfrogged Durant for the second-most votes in the league, but that does not change Durant's current captain status.
Just like in years past, fans will account for 50% of the final vote for this year's All-Star Game. The other 50% is made up of current players and a media panel, with each side accounting for 25% of the vote.
NBA Power Rankings: Suns end season on top, Bucks highest ranked from East
All championship roads run through Phoenix. 1. Suns (63-16, Last Week No. 1). Phoenix has owned the top spot in these NBA power rankings most of the season, and lapped the field running away with the best record in the league and a franchise record for wins. Phoenix finishes the season with the No. 2 offense and No. 2 defense, the best points differential, the best record in the clutch, and an aura that they are the team to beat. We could try to nit-pick this team heading into the playoffs — sometimes Chris Paul teams play so hard all season they don’t have another gear for the playoffs — but that’s a waste of time.
Voting began on Dec. 25 and will conclude at 11:59 p.m. ET on Jan. 22.
The 71st NBA All-Star Game will take place on Sunday, Feb. 20 at 8 p.m. ET.
VOTE FOR YOUR 2022 NBA ALL-STARS HERE!
Now, onto takeaways from the results…
Stephen Curry (West guards), Kevin Durant (East frontcourt), DeMar DeRozan (East guards) and LeBron James (West frontcourt) continue to be the top vote-getters at their respective position groups in the second fan returns of NBA All-Star Voting presented by Tissot. pic.twitter.com/dAaVBHrXi5
— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) January 13, 2022
Top 10 vote-getters
Stephen Curry – 4,463,426
LeBron James – 4,386,392
Kevin Durant – 4,088,334
Giannis Antetokounmpo – 3,808,458
Nikola Jokic – 3,016,380
DeMar DeRozan – 2,973,854
Joel Embiid – 2,357,404
Andrew Wiggins – 1,829,733
Paul George – 1,773,447
Ja Morant – 1,633,313
Video: Two Boston Celtics feature in NBA Eastern Conference All-Star fan voting (SMG)
Ja Morant returns from injury; Grizzlies defeat Pelicans to tie franchise record for wins in a season
If voting ended today, fan-voted starters would be…
The tightest races for starting spots
The Western Conference frontcourt has the closest race for a starting spot, with a new name entering the starting lineup as of the latest fan vote returns: Wiggins has passed Paul George for the time being, with only 56,286 votes separating the two players. While it's worth mentioning again that the fan vote only counts for 50% of the final vote, it's also worth noting that George is currently sidelined with an elbow injury and would likely need a replacement if he did crack the starting lineup.
The next-tightest contest is for the second guard spot in the Eastern Conference. On the first All-Star fan vote returns, it was Nets star James Harden who joined DeRozan in the backcourt. This time around, Young has leaped both Harden and Zach LaVine to take that second backcourt spot, with 153,730 votes separating him and LaVine.
One reason for hope for every NBA non-playoff team, including ageless LeBron James, return of Damian Lillard
There were a lot of bad teams in the NBA this season, but they won't be bad forever right?But, as the great 18th-century French philosopher Voltaire once said, "Optimism is the madness of insisting that all is well when we are miserable." So, feel free to delude yourselves as we identify one beaming reason for hope for every team that missed out on the 2022 NBA postseason. From LeBron James to Franz Wagner, every one of these teams contains the signs of a promising future, provided you look at them through properly adjusted rose-tinted lenses.
The other race to keep an eye on is the second backcourt spot in the West, where Morant has jumped Luka Doncic. Morant's recent surge has paid off, taking a 222,708-vote lead over Doncic for the second starting spot among Western Conference guards.
New names entering the top 10
In the Western Conference, there were no new names in the top 10 for the frontcourt or backcourt, but there was some shuffling among the same group of players.
In the Eastern Conference, there were only two new names that popped up in the top 10.
In the frontcourt, Toronto Raptors forward and one-time All-Star Pascal Siakam entered the conversation, receiving 244,042 votes to rank eighth in the East. In the backcourt, Boston Celtics guard and one-time All-Star Jaylen Brown entered the top 10, receiving 217,463 votes to rank 10th in the East.
To connect the dots for you, since there were no new names among the top 10 in the frontcourt or backcourt in the West, that means there were no names that dropped off.
In the East, with Siakam taking a top 10 frontcourt spot, it was Bulls center and two-time All-Star Nikola Vucevic who fell off the list. In the backcourt, Brown replaced the Miami Heat's Sixth Man of the Year candidate Tyler Herro.
Also worth noting
Lakers veteran forward Carmelo Anthony continues to receive love from the fans, tallying 886,014 votes to rank seventh in the West frontcourt. Lakers guard Russell Westbrook has also jumped up on the list, going from ninth last week to sixth this week in the West backcourt.
In the East, Nets veteran LaMarcus Aldridge surprisingly remained in the top 10, receiving 216,216 votes. In the backcourt, Raptors star Fred VanVleet continues to be outpaced by Nets guard Kyrie Irving, who has only played in three games, and New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose, who has missed significant time due to an ankle injury.
Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton: 'I want to be here in Cleveland' .
Sexton will be a restricted free agent. According to Cleveland.com's Chris Fedor, the 23-year-old guard would prefer to stay with the Cavaliers. "I want to be here in Cleveland," Sexton said after the Cavaliers were eliminated Friday night. "I love the organization, love my teammates and whatever happens I know that Cleveland was really good to me. I know this is the place that helped me get to where I am today, and I know I want to continue to be a part of this winning culture. I feel like me just being able to be at the start of it helped us get to yesterday and where we are right now at the present.