Third NBA All-Star ballots released, Kobe stays in front

This year's All-Star festivities are in Houston

It's that time again when the NBA's annual popularity contest–like a high school student government election–is examined over like an ancient scroll. The third installment of the All-Star fan voting ballots have been released to the public and the most notable thing to take from it is that Kobe Bryant, with a roughly 26,000 vote advantage over LeBron James, is still the leading vote-getter. Coming in at third on the list is Kevin Durant and right behind him is Carmelo Anthony, second in the East among frontcourt players.

Rounding out the top five for the Eastern Conference frontcourt in Kevin Garnett, Chris Bosh and Tyson Chandler, who is holding a seemingly commanding 100,000+ vote lead over the next closest player, Paul Pierce. Somehow, Shane Battier, Amar'e' Stoudemire, and Andrew Bynum are 10th-12th respectively on that list, even though Battier averages just 25.7 minutes and 6.7 points per game, Stoudemire has played two games this year, and Bynum hasn't even seen any action at all so far due to injury. The craziness of the NBA All-Star Game voting system.

For the East's backcourt, Dwyane Wade is in the lead ahead of Rajon Rondo by nearly 100,000 votes. A huge drop-off of around 300,00 tallies follows Rondo to Brooklyn's Deron Williams, whom is narrowly ahead of Kyrie Irving. Ray Allen, who has been a pleasant surprise for the Heat this season, is sitting in the 5th place.

Moving to the Western Conference, we don't have many surprises at the top of the frontcourt and backcourt lists but as we move down them, we see some interesting names. Durant, the struggling Dwight Howard, and Blake Griffin make up the top three and are in a tier of their own for the most part, with 4th-place Tim Duncan nearly 250,000 votes behind Griffin. Contrary to what most would think, the West center in 5th-place in the ballot standings right now is Pau Gasol, not Kevin Love, presumably due to the greater size of the Laker fanbase as opposed to the Timberwolves fanbase. Also, Omer Asik makes an appearance on the list ahead of Rudy Gay, another head-scratcher we can blame the public for.

From the backcourt, Kobe's nearly-double lead on Chris Paul looks to be secure but Jeremy Lin, former Knicks phenom, is right on the Clippers' star point guard's tail. James Harden is in 4th-place with around 250,000 less votes than his Houston teammate and Russell Westbrook is just a few thousand votes behind his former Thunder teammate in 5th-place. However, as we all know, these rankings change every second and minute of every day up until the January 14th deadline, so they'll probably change soon. Just wanted to let you guys know of where they stand right now.

Ballot information from http://www.nba.com/2013/news/01/03/all-star-ballot-update-3/index.html.

About Josh Burton

I'm a New York native who has been a Nets season ticket holder, in both New Jersey and now Brooklyn, for his entire life. Northwestern University (Medill School of Journalism) '18

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