Before the annual NBA All-Star Game is played, fans are encouraged to vote for their favorite players to start for each conference’s team. This season is the first time the NBA is allowing media members and players to assist in the selections, giving each 25 percent of the overall vote, but fan votes still carry the most weight at 50 percent.
Several former Longhorns have staked their claim for a spot on the All-Star rosters, some gaining considerable recognition from fans.
Kevin Durant, Small Forward, Golden State Warriors
According to NBA.com, Durant has received 987,479 votes from fans as of Jan. 12, leading all Western Conference front court players by a wide margin. Durant’s teammate Zaza Pachulia, currently in second place, trails by 164,103 votes, likely solidifying Durant’s selection following the media and player votes. Durant has certainly earned the top spot, posting 25.8 points, 8.6 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game and scoring at least 20 points in every game during January.
LaMarcus Aldridge, Power Forward, San Antonio Spurs
Prior to the All-Star break last season, Aldridge was posting 17.5 points, 7.1 rebounds and one block per game; numbers respectable enough to receive a reserve spot on the Western Conference team. It’s unlikely Aldridge starts this year, ranking eighth among Western Conference front court players with 192,784 votes. However, he has posted a stat line of 19.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game this month, garnering consideration to earn a sixth-consecutive selection to the team.
Tristan Thompson, Center, Cleveland Cavaliers
It’s not uncommon for a player in Thompson’s situation to be overlooked. Thompson shares the floor with three former All-Stars as teammates, often being outshone by the likes of LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. Consequently, Thompson is not the centerpiece of the Cleveland offense, scoring just 7.3 points per game — hardly All-Star caliber. Nonetheless, Thompson is having a stellar year,
averaging a career-high 8.6 rebounds (second-highest on the team) and a team-high 1.2 blocks per game. Fans have taken note of Thompson’s effort and rewarded him with 114,759 votes, ranking 10th in the Eastern Conference
Avery Bradley, Shooting Guard, Boston Celtics
Not only has Bradley made a case to be in the All-Star Game, he’s also put himself in the conversation for Most Improved
Player of the Year. The strong
perimeter defender is earning 17.7 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game and nailing 42.9 percent of his threes — all career-highs. Despite his blistering outburst, those numbers may not be enough as Bradley has only received 64,157 votes thus far, ranked 10th among Eastern Conference guards.
Starters will be revealed on Jan. 19 for the NBA All-Star Game, which will be played in New Orleans on Feb. 19.