Dwight Howard leads the Eastern Conference in votes for the All-Star Game after the first returns. ZumaPress/PicApp
Dwight Howard came in second overall and the top vote-getter in the Eastern Conference in the first returns of NBA All-Star Balloting. Howard got 611,561 votes, almost 400,000 more votes than runner-up Shaquille O'Neal. There is definitely no doubt Howard will be starting at the All-Star Game in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 20, 2011.
Kobe Bryant currently leads all players with 722,682 votes. So despite an MVP-type season, Howard is not on pace to be the league's leading vote-getter for the second straight year.
Dwyane Wade, Rajon Rondo, LeBron James and Kevin Garnett would be the remaining starters on the Eastern Conference team. Kevin Durant, Pau Gasol, Bryant, Chris Paul and Yao Ming (yes, Yao Ming who has been ruled out for the rest of the season after fracturing his ankle) would be the starters out West.
Jameer Nelson, who until about a week and a half ago was on an All-Star pace, is not among the top 10. Vince Carter is sixth among guards.
Very interesting to me that only three teams will be represented in the starting lineup in the Eastern Conference and of course the lack of centers in the West (Yao still has some sway despite not playing, I guess). Also interesting is how the Magic are largely not represented outside Howard as Carter is still feeling the residual effects of his 2000s popularity (much like Yao or Allen Iverson did last year). Kind of highlights the problem we have all seen in the Magic's roster.
But, no talk of that. This is supposed to be positive news.
Voting is still going on at NBA.com for the next month or so.