In the third voting returns, released Thursday, James leads Curry for the top spot by more than 800,000 votes. Curry was the leading vote-getter among all players in the first two returns, but his margin shrank from almost 600,000 votes to less than 100,000 votes from the first week to the second week.
If James maintains this lead, it will be the sixth straight season in which he's led all players in fan votes and the fifth straight season in which the All-Star Game has featured Team LeBron. (The first All-Star draft took place in 2018.)
Beyond that, the leaderboard looks extremely similar to last week's. In the Western Conference, the same 10 players are in the same order. (Yes, Andrew Wiggins is still way ahead of Warriors teammate Draymond Green.) In the Eastern Conference, the injured Kevin Durant is still at the head of the pack, with Giannis Antetokounmpo almost 400,000 votes behind him.
Fan voting will continue until Jan. 22 at midnight ET. The All-Star starters (and the team captains) will be revealed on Jan. 27 on TNT.
Here's the breakdown in the West:
1. LeBron James, Lakers (6,827,449)
1. Stephen Curry, Warriors (6,019,418)
3. Andrew Wiggins, Warriors (2,644,571)
4. Klay Thompson, Warriors (1,240,781)
5. Anthony Davis, Lakers (2,071,920)
6. Draymond Green, Warriors (1,861,562)
6. Russell Westbrook, Lakers (855,990)
7. Carmelo Anthony, Lakers (1,449,475)
7. Chris Paul, Suns, (758,336)
9. Rudy Gobert, Jazz (583,976)
9. Damian Lillard, Blazers (458,858)
10. Deandre Ayton, Suns (472,402)
10. Anthony Edwards, Timberwolves (304,343)
And in the East:
1. Kevin Durant, Nets (5,496,513)
2. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks (5,124,925)
3. Joel Embiid, Sixers (3,305,229)
3. Zach LaVine, Bulls (1,988,452)
4. James Harden, Nets (1,962,928)
6. Kyrie Irving, Nets (844,398)
7. Fred VanVleet, Raptors (577,540)
8. Bam Adebayo, Heat (417,661)
9. Miles Bridges, Hornets (330,372)
9. Darius Garland, Cavaliers (343,551)
10. LaMarcus Aldridge, Nets (318,655)
10. Jaylen Brown, Celtics (330,409)
Before you get too upset about any of this: Fan voting alone does not determine the starters. Fans will account for half the vote, while players and a panel of media members will account for 25 percent each.
That said, a few notes:
Has Young separated himself?
The Eastern Conference backcourt looked like it would be the most tightly contested category from the beginning, and it's not clear whether or not Young has secured the fan vote. He was third in the first returns, then moved up to second, where he has remained. He and LaVine are separated by fewer than 160,000 votes, though, and Harden is about 25,000 behind LaVine. This isn't over, although LaVine having been injured for the past week (and ruled out for the next three games) probably doesn't hurt Young's chances.
Can Giannis overtake K.D.?
While Team LeBron has been a constant, we've seen both Team Durant (2021) and Team Giannis (2019, 2020) in recent All-Star Games. Durant been at the top of the East after each round of returns, and it seems unlikely that Antetokounmpo will be able to make up this deficit in time to change that, but maybe it's within the realm of possibility? Are people really motivated to vote for Durant when he's likely to be unable to play in the game?
Raptors fans showed up
Here are the only changes in terms of where players ranked in their positional categories from second returns to third returns:
- Pascal Siakam overtook Bam Adebayo
- Fred VanVleet overtook Derrick Rose
VanVleet and Siakam are ultimately going to need the coaches to get them in, but still: Toronto appears to be getting out the vote.