West, East All-Star frontcourt starting battles heating up

The third returns for All-Star voting were released recently, and in some cases, many of the starting spots seem to be a lock. But if you take a look at the third frontcourt spot on the Western and Eastern Conference, it could be a battle to the finish.

In the East, just over 7,000 votes are separating Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, and Pistons big man Andre Drummond, while LeBron James and Paul George are several hundred thousand votes ahead, virtual locks to start.

Anthony is currently averaging 21.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game. Through 39 games for the Pistons, Drummond is averaging 17.8 points, a league-leading 15.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game.

In the Western Conference, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant have comfortable leads. The third spot is a race between Warriors forward Draymond Green and Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard. 12,321 votes separate Green and Leonard.

Green is averaging 15 points, 9.7 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game. Leonard, the reigning defensive player of the year, has season averages of 20.2 points, 7.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.9 steals per.

With Kobe Bryant now listed in the frontcourt, Blake Griffin and Anthony Davis are now on the outside looking in, and are almost certainly set to be reserves, depending on coach selections.

All-Star voting will conclude on January 18 at 11:59 p.m. EST, and starters will be announced a few days later, January 21 on TNT.

Expect the voting to heat up over the weekend with fanbases in New York, Detroit, Oakland and San Antonio rallying to get their players into the starting lineup.

About Michael A. De Leon

Michael founded Project Spurs in 2004. He started The Spurscast, the first Spurs podcast on the Internet, in 2005. Michael has been interviewed by the BBC, SportTalk, the Sports Reporters Radio Show, MemphisSportLive, OKC Sports Wrap and ESPN radio among others. He is a credentialed member of the media for the San Antonio Spurs and Austin Toros. He is also the founder of Project Spurs' sister sites, Toros Nation and Stars Hoops.