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The fact LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers continues to lead the NBA’s All-Star voting is certainly not a surprise.
However, the fact Kevin Durant has been displaced from the Western Conference’s starting five in the most-recent fan balloting certainly is.
The back-to-back NBA Finals Most Valuable Player of the Golden State Warriors has been replaced in the West’s starting five by Paul George of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
James and George are joined by Dallas Mavericks rookie standout Luka Doncic in the West’s frontcourt in the current balloting, along with Durant’s Warriors teammate, Stephen Curry, and Minnesota’s Derrick Rose in the backcourt.
Rising star Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks is second overall behind James in fan voting, which concludes Jan. 21. Doncic moved into the No. 2 spot in the West, surpassing Rose and Curry.
Antetokounmpo is joined in the East’s starting five by Kawhi Leonard of the Toronto Raptors, Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers, Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat and Kyrie Irving of the Boston Celtics.
The fan vote tipped off Christmas Day, accounting for 50 percent of the 10 All-Star starters. Voting by the league’s players and the media will also conclude Jan. 21.
The leading vote-getters in the two conferences will again serve as captains and draft rosters from the pool of players voted as starters and reserves in both conferences, a system which was implemented to rave reviews last season. All-Star reserves are determined by voting by the NBA head coaches.
Unlike last season, the captains’ draft will be televised.
Starters for the game will be announced Jan. 24, with backups being announced one week later.