NBA released the tallies of the first round of fan voting for the NBA All-Star Game, and to no surprise, the Brooklyn Nets stars of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden are all in the hunt to be starters.
At the start of the season, the NBA had initially decided not to have an actual All-Star game, but with recent reports from The Athletics’ Shams Charania on Twitter that there will be an All-Star game on March 7th in Atlanta.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 4, 2021
However, with LeBron James already voicing his disagreement with this, the NBA might change its mind if one of the game’s biggest stars is against this idea.
The first EAST returns for #NBAAllStar 2021!
Do you agree??
— #NBAAllStar (@NBAAllStar) February 4, 2021
The fact remains that with an All-Star Game or without, the voting is still going on, and Kevin Durant is leading the NBA with 2,302,705 total votes. This should not come as a surprise, as Kevin Durant is having a career year after returning from an Achilles injury that he suffered in the 2018 NBA Finals and then missed the entire 2018-2019 season.
Durant is averaging 30.8 points a game, which is the second-highest in the league. He is doing that on an efficient 53% from the field, 45% from three-point, and 88% from the free-throw line. Durant only needs to raise his free throw percentage by 2% to reach the exclusive 50-40-90 club. Durant is of nine NBA players to ever reach that goal, and if he does again, this season will be the third player to do it in multiple seasons.
On top of that, Durant is averaging 7.5 rebounds and 5.2 assists a game, putting him into the MVP conversation. It is hard to argue that he hasn’t re-inserted himself as one of the best players in the league after taking a year off, and his voting numbers back that up.
Kyrie Irving has accumulated the second most votes for a guard in the Eastern Conference, 1,093,611 votes, putting him as the second starter at the guard position. Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards is in front of Irving by 180,206 votes. Beal rightfully deserves this spot as he leads the NBA in scoring with 34.8 points per game, and after being one of the biggest All-Star voting snubs in last year’s voting.
However, Irving is having one of the best seasons of his career. Irving is putting up 28.3 points a game, which ranks at 5th place in that stat. On top of that, he is in the 50-40-90 club, shooting 54% from the field, 45% from three, and 95% from the line. Irving has been a dominant force and an extremely efficient scorer this season, and even though it has only been 15 games, these numbers should not decline too much deeper into the season.
The guard right behind Irving for the second starting spot in the All-Star Game is James Harden, with 1,014,763 votes. Harden could eventually overcome Irving for that second starting spot, or they could even both get enough votes to both be starts, which would be great for the Nets. However, Harden has only played nine games for the Nets, and his mid-season trade could affect his voting numbers.
So far, Harden is not putting up one of his best seasons, but he was traded after just eight games to the Nets and has only played in nine games for the team. He is still putting up 24.4 points a game, 11.2 assists for the highest average in the league, and 6.8 rebounds. Harden has not been nearly as efficient as Durant or Irving, only shooting 46% from the field and 36% from beyond the arc. Still, Harden has been great at running the Nets’ offense and has created scoring opportunities for others.
The Nets stars have played like stars, and the NBA All-Star voting has validated that.
With Durant and Irving having career years, they might be locks as starters for the Eastern Conference if there is a game, and if Harden can make it in starting lineup as well, it would be fantastic for the Nets fan to see that.
Featured Image: Brooklyn Nets