Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo lead first NBA All-Star fan vote returns

Stacy Revere/Getty Images
0 Comments

It’s not a complete changing of the guard — LeBron James, James Harden, and other veterans are still drawing a lot of votes — but fans want to see the game’s young stars headline the NBA All-Star Game.

The first returns from the fan voting for the NBA All-Star Game are in and Dallas’ Luka Doncic leads all Western Conference players, while Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo tops the East. Other young players such as Trae Young and Pascal Siakam will be starting if the fans get their way.

The fans don’t get their way, completely. Fans get to help select the starters and their votes account for 50 percent of the total (and are the tiebreaker), with select media member votes accounting for 25 percent, and player votes making up the final 25 percent.

Fans want to see who they want to see. They also voted the Lakers’ Alex Caruso eighth among West backcourt players — ahead of the Suns’ Devin Booker (which is a crime people, Booker has been fantastic this season) — and the Celtics’ Tacko Fall seventh among East frontcourt players (ahead of Miami’s Bam Adebayo, among others).

Here are the starting lineups if this were this fan vote were all that counted:
Eastern Conference: Trae Young (Atlanta), Kyrie Irving (Brooklyn), Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee), Joel Embiid (Philadelphia), Pascal Siakam (Toronto).
Western Conference: Luka Doncic (Dallas), James Harden (Houston), LeBron James (LA Lakers), Anthony Davis (LA Lakers), Kawhi Leonard (LA Clippers).

The rest of the All-Star rosters are voted on by a vote of the league’s coaches.

As of now, Doncic and Antetokounmpo would be the team captains, and they would get to chose their teams “playground style” — they pick their teams from the pool of players voted as starters and reserves, making their selections regardless of conference affiliation

Voting is open through Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Jan. 20), and fans can vote at vote.NBA.com, through the NBA app, or through their Google Assistant.

The 2020 NBA All-Star Game will take place at the United Center in Chicago on Feb. 16 at 8 p.m. ET (on TNT).

Here are the top 10 vote getters in each category so far.

Western Conference backcourt
(Rank Player Votes)
1. Luka Doncic, Mavericks 1,073,957
2. James Harden, Rockets 749,080
3. Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers 202,498
4. Stephen Curry, Warriors 191,149
5. Russell Westbrook, Rockets 189,005
6. D'Angelo Russell, Warriors 122,499
7. Donovan Mitchell, Jazz 108,349
8. Alex Caruso, Lakers 92,233
9. Devin Booker, Suns 91,817
10. Ja Morant, Grizzlies 77,081

Western Conference frontcourt
(Rank Player Votes)
1. LeBron James, Lakers 1,020,851
2. Anthony Davis, Lakers 955,246
3. Kawhi Leonard, Clippers 740,657
4. Paul George, Clippers 280,894
5. Karl-Anthony Towns, Timberwolves 173,129
6. Kristaps Porzingis, Mavericks 171,749
7. Nikola Jokic, Nuggets 160,934
8. Carmelo Anthony, Trail Blazers 142,292
9. Brandon Ingram, Pelicans 118,188
10. Dwight Howard, Lakers 69,785

Eastern Conference backcourt
(Rank Player Votes)
1. Trae Young, Hawks 443,412
2. Kyrie Irving, Nets 432,481
3. Kemba Walker, Celtics 432,031
4. Derrick Rose, Pistons 233,669
5. Zach LaVine, Bulls 174,991
6. Ben Simmons, 76ers 159,065
7. Jaylen Brown, Celtics 156,537
8. Kyle Lowry, Raptors 154,139
9. Bradley Beal, Wizards 149,640
10. Spencer Dinwiddie, Nets 94,618

Eastern Conference frontcourt
(Rank Player Votes)
1. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks 1,073,358
2. Joel Embiid, 76ers 606,534
3. Pascal Siakam, Raptors 544,302
4. Jimmy Butler, Heat 431,483
5. Jayson Tatum, Celtics 364,137
6. Tacko Fall, Celtics 110,269
7. Bam Adebayo, Heat 104,086
8. Gordon Hayward, Celtics 75,240
9. Andre Drummond, Pistons 68,076
10. Domantas Sabonis, Pacers 67,482

Markelle Fultz will miss start of training camp, at least, with broken toe

Orlando Magic v Charlotte Hornets
Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images
0 Comments

The basketball gods continue to turn their backs on Markelle Fultz.

A torn ACL had limited him to 26 games over the past two seasons, but he was healthy and ramping up to a larger role this season with a young and interesting Magic team. Then came the news he fractured his left big toe during a training session. As a result, he will be out for at least the start of training camp, the team announced. From the official announcement:

“He has been placed in a walking boot and his return to play will depend on how he responds to rehabilitation and treatment. Fultz suffered the injury during a preseason workout prior to returning to Orlando and imaging confirmed the fracture.

He will not need surgery, according to the team.

Fultz was set to split point guard duties with Cole Anthony, this injury means RJ Hampton could see more run at the point for now. Fultz should be able to return either during the end of the preseason or early in the season.

Fultz was the No.1 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft but never found his footing with the 76ers (in part due to injury). However, since getting out of that spotlight and allowed to develop in Orlando he’s been a solid rotation point guard when healthy. Last season in 18 games he averaged 10.8 points and 5.5 assists a game, and while he’s still not an efficient shooter he can run a team.

How Anthony and, eventually, Fultz will work off the ball as rookie Paolo Banchero gets the opportunity to create more offense will be just one of the interesting things to watch with this Magic team this year. We’ll have to wait a little while to see Fultz.

 

Vintage Kobe: Redeem Team recalls him running over Pau Gasol

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
0 Comments

If the goal of a trailer is to get you to want to see the movie, then well done Netflix. I’m in.

Netflix released a trailer for its upcoming Redeem Team documentary on the 2008 Olympics, featuring some vintage Kobe Bryant. Just as a quick refresher, in 2008 the USA’s toughest opponent would be a deep Spanish team led by peak Pau Gasol but also with Marc Gasol, Ricky Rubio, José Calderón, Rudy Fernández, Juan Carlos Navarro and more. This was a legitimately dangerous team and one the USA would face first in group play.

Kobe wanted to set a tone — and did by running through his friend Gasol. (Warning: There is NSFW language in the video clip below.)

“‘First play of the game I’m running through Pau Gasol.’ And we was like, ‘What?’ He said, ‘First play of the game, I know what they’re gonna run.’ And he knew Pau was gonna be the last screen and he said ‘I’m running through him,'” Dwayne Wade said

Spoiler alert: The USA thrashed Spain in group stage play. However, come the Gold Medal game it was a lot tougher for the Americans to beat the Spaniards, with Kobe having to have a big fourth quarter and — what often goes unremembered — a master class from Chris Paul in game management to control the tempo and flow.

I’m all in for the documentary, which drops on Oct. 7 on Netflix.

Spurs’ Keldon Johnson to miss start of training camp with shoulder injury

San Antonio Spurs v Denver Nuggets
Morgan Engel/Getty Images
0 Comments

Keldon Johnson is poised to have a monster season on a rebuilding Spurs team.

Except he’s going to miss the start of training camp and the team’s preseason games. And could be out longer.

Johnson suffered a “right shoulder posterior dislocation during Spurs open gym” the team announced Saturday. Posterior dislocations are rare (less than 5% of all dislocations) and are usually from a fall on an extended arm. Recovering from the injury depends on many factors but can extend out for months. However, the Spurs said Johnson is expected to be available for the start of the regular season less than a month from now.

Johnson averaged 17 points and 6.1 rebounds a game last season, and is an elite perimeter shooter off the catch-and-shoot (39.8% from 3 overall), who also can put the ball on the floor and finish at the rim. He was the team’s second-leading scorer last season (to Dejounte Murray, who is now in Atlanta).

The Spurs will be cautious with bringing Johnson back. Even in what could be Gregg Popovich’s last season as coach the Spurs are looking more to be part of the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes than push for a playoff spot. Johnson is a quality player who helps San Antonio win games, which both is why they want him back healthy and why they are not going to rush him.

Cavaliers reportedly extend Dean Wade for three years, $18.5 million

Pregame of Cleveland Cavaliers and Philadelphia 76ers
Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
0 Comments

This could be a steal for the Cavaliers — Dean Wade could be the starting three for the Cavaliers by the end of this season and he’s got a genuine upside.

The Cavaliers have extended Wade for three years, $18.5 million, a story where multiple sources were on top of it, including Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Wade’s counting stats aren’t eye-popping — 5.3 points a game and shooting 35.7% from 3 — but he is a quality wing defender who has improved as a floor spacer (sometimes setting picks and popping out). He’s a two-way player who has put in the work and could pass Isaac Okoro on the depth chart this season.

The Cavaliers have four All-Stars who will undoubtedly be starting for them — Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell in the backcourt, Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley up front — and the looming question is at the three. Wade has a chance this season to step into that role.

Which makes extending him at a little over $6 million a season a potential steal for the Cavaliers.