How the opening tip-off of the NBA All-Star game might be different this season

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA recently released the latest count of NBA All-Star votes,with LeBron James leading the way. But this year, LeBron might get an opportunity to do something he doesn't do very often.

Yes, it still might be a little too early to be talking about this, but the NBA All-Star game is approaching faster than you may think. NBA All-Star Weekend is February 14th-16th, with the All-Star game itself on the final day.

The Celebrity All-Star game, which has been dominated by the 2 time defending MVP Kevin Hart, is the main event on Friday night, and Saturday is headlined by the Slam Dunk Contest (which needs to include LeBron James this year) and the 3-Point Contest.

You, the fans have the opportunity to vote who you want to see starting in the NBA All-Star game. Who is leading right now, you might ask? You might notice a difference in the way they are selecting the starting lineup, this season instead of voting for a Point guard, and a Shooting guard, you are voting for 2 back-court players, and 3 front-court players. Which brings up a problem we will discuss later in the article. Here are the latest results:

Eastern Conference:

Frontcourt:

1.         LeBron James (Mia) 854,105

2.         Paul George (Ind) 712,808

3.         Carmelo Anthony (NYK) 580,795

4.         Roy Hibbert (Ind) 304,829

5.         Chris Bosh (Mia) 222,861

6.         Kevin Garnett (BKN) 137,520

7.         Joakim Noah (Chi) 101,308

8.         Andre Drummond (Det) 91,132

9.         Jeff Green (Bos) 78,693

10.       Tyson Chandler (NYK) 77,496

11.       Luol Deng (Chi) 73,418

12.       Carlos Boozer (Chi) 64,861

13.       Paul Pierce (BKN) 60,541

14.       Brook Lopez (BKN) 52,907

15.       Josh Smith (Det) 46,836

Backcourt:

1.         Dwyane Wade (Mia) 565,455

2.         Kyrie Irving (Cle) 524,000

3.         Derrick Rose (Chi) 299,950

4.         John Wall (Was) 210,988

5.         Ray Allen (Mia) 143,714

6.         Rajon Rondo (Bos) 111,335

7.         Deron Williams (BKN) 74,047

8.         George Hill (Ind) 66,030

9.         Lance Stephenson (Ind) 50,444

10.       DeMar DeRozan (Tor) 48,744

Western Coference:

Frontcourt:

1.         Kevin Durant (OKC) 850,728

2.         Dwight Howard (Hou) 408,623

3.         Blake Griffin (LAC) 399,357

4.         Kevin Love (Min) 377,941

5.         Tim Duncan (SA) 312,809

6.         LaMarcus Aldridge (Por) 282,613

7.         Anthony Davis (NO) 188,589

8.         Pau Gasol (LAL) 177,883

9.         Andre Iguodala (GS) 145,089

10.       Dirk Nowitzki (Dal) 126,025

11.       Chandler Parsons (Hou) 106,369

12.       DeMarcus Cousins (Sac) 99,903

13.       David Lee (GS) 89,858

14.       Omer Asik (Hou) 79,591

15.       Kawhi Leonard (SA) 76,11

Backcourt:

1.         Kobe Bryant (LAL) 723,031

2.         Chris Paul (LAC) 533,647

3.         Stephen Curry (GS) 481,698

4.         Jeremy Lin (Hou) 358,725

5.         James Harden (Hou) 270,476

6.         Russell Westbrook (OKC) 216,070

7.         Tony Parker (SA) 158,329

8.         Damian Lillard (Por) 105,880

9.         Ricky Rubio (Min) 81,829

10.       Steve Nash (LAL) 81,377

It shouldn't be too much of a surprise to see that LeBron James has the most votes, followed by Kobe Bryant (who most likely won't be playing) and Kevin Durant. Paul George, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul are some of the other stars getting the most votes.

Let's say the All-Star voting ended right now, this would be the starting lineups:

East:


PG - Kyrie Irving
SG - Dwyane Wade
SF - Paul George
PF - Carmelo Anthony
C- LeBron James

Wait a second....LeBron James starting at CENTER?!?!

Yes, it seems very likely we will see a LeBron James-Dwight Howard opening tipoff this year to start the All-Star game.

For the rest of the starting lineup, it appears to me the fans have gotten it right. You can't really go wrong with a lineup that has LeBron, Carmelo, Wade, Paul George, and Uncle Drew in it.

Here is the Western Conference's projected lineup:
PG - Chris Paul
SG - Kobe Bryant
SF - Kevin Durant
PF - Blake Griffin
C - Dwight Howard

This lineup is subject to change, as Kobe Bryant is dealing with an injury, but you know what they say, never doubt the Black Mamba. If Kobe is unable to go, it looks like Stephen Curry will take his place in the starting lineup.

As for the rest of the lineup, it is a great one. You have Chris Paul running the show, the Point god...err..I mean guard, D12 down low and KD being the go-to scorer, that will be tough to beat. Blake Griffin is a great, entertaining player, but I believe Kevin Love is an all-around better player. Love is averaging 25 points and 13 rebounds a game this season, compared to Blake Griffin's 20 points and 10 boards per game. Both are great players, but if Kevin Love played in Los Angeles, would he have more votes than Griffin? Probably.

So far it seems the fans are doing a good job of selecting the All-Star game starting lineups, as most of the time they do get it right.

It is also very likely that we will see a LeBron James/Dwight Howard opening tip-off, as LeBron might be starting at the Center position.

Have any thoughts about the new All-Star voting method? Is it better than the previous one, in which you voted for each position, rather than 3 frontcourt players and 2 backcourt players? Let your voice be heard in the comment section below.

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