NEW YORK • Dallas' Luka Doncic has edged reigning National Basketball Association (NBA) Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo of Milwaukee for the overall lead in early NBA All-Star Game voting results released on Thursday.
Doncic, last season's NBA Rookie of the Year, topped all players with 1,073,957 fan votes with "Greek Freak" Antetokounmpo trailing by only 599 votes and Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James third on 1,020,851. James is just the third player to top the million-vote mark so far, putting him well on his way to a 16th consecutive All-Star appearance.
Fans have half of the voting power to decide the 10 starters in the All-Star Game at Chicago on Feb 16, while NBA players voting counts 25 per cent and a media panel counts for the final 25 per cent to determine two guards and three front-court starters for the Eastern and Western conferences.
Voting will conclude on Jan 20, with starters and captains to be revealed on Jan 23. Each captain will select starting and reserve line-ups from the available players regardless of conference. All-Star reserves will be revealed on Jan 30.
Doncic topped the Western Conference guards, with NBA scoring leader James Harden of Houston well back in second on 749,080 and Portland's Damian Lillard a distant third on 202,498.
James, a four-time NBA MVP, paced the West front court with teammate Anthony Davis next on 955,246 and last year's NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard of the Los Angeles Clippers third on 740,657. A distant fourth was Clippers star Paul George on 280,894.
Antetokounmpo led East front-court balloting with Cameroonian big man Joel Embiid of Philadelphia second on 606,534 and his compatriot, Pascal Siakam, of reigning champions Toronto and last season's NBA Most Improved Player, third on 544,302. Miami's Jimmy Butler was fourth on 431,483.
In the East back court, which features the tightest voting race for a starting berth, Atlanta's Trae Young was the leader on 443,412. Brooklyn's Kyrie Irving was second on 432,481, 450 votes ahead of Boston's Kemba Walker.
Australian Ben Simmons of Philadelphia was sixth among East guards in fan votes with 159,065.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, ASSOCIATED PRESS