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The 2017 NBA All-Star Game will take place on Feb. 19 at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, and now we know who’ll be on the floor for the opening tip.
Kyrie Irving, DeMar DeRozan, Jimmy Butler, LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo have been named starters for the Eastern Conference based on votes from fans, media and the players themselves. Stephen Curry, James Harden, Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant and Anthony Davis will represent the West.
Fans controlled 50 percent of the vote this year, while input from media (25 percent) and the players themselves (25 percent) rounded out the electorate. You can see the full voting breakdowns here.
Surprises included Butler, who ranked over 200,000 fan votes behind Joel Embiid and Kevin Love in the East frontcourt but got a boost into the starting unit when players and media weighed in. Perhaps even more shocking, players and media favored Russell Westbrook over both Harden and Curry, but the guy averaging a triple-double was done in by a third-place finish in the fan vote.
Finally, there’s Zaza Pachulia, who garnered more fan votes than every West player but Harden, Curry, Durant and Westbrook. Players and media restored order to the chaos by ignoring him on their ballots.
Under the old format, he would have started. So before you lament any of the changes to the system this year, mull that over for a second.
NBA head coaches will determine the backups. The East and West will each add three players in the frontcourt, two in the backcourt and two wild-card picks, with those results slated for release on Thursday, Jan. 26.
If a coach determines a player is a multi-position stud, he has the ability to choose said player at the spot he feels would give the team the biggest advantage. Coaches are also required to rank players in order of preference for all three categories to help determine who is named a reserve in the case of a tie.
Here’s how Bleacher Report’s NBA panel—composed of Howard Beck, Ric Bucher, Kevin Ding and myself—think those reserve picks should look using the same process.