Boston Celtics stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are fourth in the first return of All-Star votes from fans at the front-court and back-court positions respectively.
Per the NBA, Kevin Durant leads all Eastern Conference players with 2.3 million votes, trailed by Giannis Antetokounmpo with 1.7 million and Joel Embiid with 1.5 million. Tatum is a distant fourth with 822,151 votes, while Jimmy Butler is an even more distant fifth at 327,929.
Bradley Beal, meanwhile, leads all guards with 1.2 million votes, followed by Kyrie Irving (1.09 million) and James Harden (1.01 million). Jaylen Brown checked in at 590,195, while Zach LaVine has 486,547.
Nets‘ Kevin Durant and Lakers‘ LeBron James lead the NBA’s first All-Star fan voting returns. Warriors’ Stephen Curry and Wizards’ Bradley Beal join Durant and James as leaders at positions. pic.twitter.com/ukvOeyx49H
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 4, 2021
All-Star fan voting helps decide the starters for the game, but the reserves are chosen by NBA head coaches. Both Brown and Tatum likely have insurmountable deficits to be named starters, and most coaches would likely choose Durant, Antetokounmpo, Irving, Harden, and Beal over Tatum and Brown anyway.
But both Brown and Tatum are well-positioned to make the team. Tatum, who was an All-Star last year, is averaging 26.8 points per game — eighth in the NBA. Brown, who has not yet played in an All-Star game, is close behind at 26.4 — 12th in the NBA.
Prior to the Celtics’ game against the Kings on Wednesday, Brad Stevens was asked about the wisdom of having an All-Star game during a pandemic. Stevens noted how much the game means to the players and to the league, but he added that the NBA needs to find a way to keep everyone safe.
“Obviously getting there and having that game and making sure everybody gets back safely, maintaining all the standards and protocols are going to be really important,” Stevens said. “I think that there’s a reason they want to have it. I believe the NBA will find a way to do it safely.”
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