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LeBron James leads NBA All-Star Game voting after third round of fan ballots

Lakers forward has taken over the lead in 2022 ASG fan voting. We break down the third round of ballots.

LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers brings the ball up court during a game at the Crypto.com Arena on January 19, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.  Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images

Los Angeles Lakers F LeBron James has overtaken the lead for fan voting for the 2022 NBA All-Star Game after the third round of ballots were released on Thursday afternoon. Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and DeMar DeRozan come in behind James. Let’s break down the East and West ballots and who we might see as starters when they are announced on Jan. 27.

Let’s start in the West. We know for sure Stephen Curry, LeBron and Nikola Jokic are locks to start for the Western Conference. That would leave one forward spot and one guard spot. Luka Doncic or Ja Morant makes sense in the back court with Curry.

The other forward spot in the West is interesting. Fan voting should mean next to nothing. Andrew Wiggins is third among forwards in the West and he isn’t starter-caliber. It won’t be Anthony Davis or Paul George — both players have been injured for most of this season. Draymond Green makes sense but is hurt at the moment and could sit out. Karl-Anthony Towns is the most deserving, but would the West make him PF eligible to be a starter with Jokic at center? That could be the case.

We could see another guard slot in as a starter. Or both Doncic and Morant end up as West starters with Doncic at SF and Morant at PG with Steph at SG. Either way, it won’t matter as much. Remember, the two team captains will draft their teams.

Out East, it’s more of a log jam. Kevin Durant is the leading vote-getter, but is hurt and you’d think he’ll sit out to rest. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid are the only mortal locks to be starters out of the East. You’d think DeRozan gets in there as well but he’s considered a guard, which makes things interesting. Jayson Tatum or Jimmy Butler would slot in at SF in place of Durant if he opts out. The other guard spot next to DeRozan could be Trae Young. You could make a case for James Harden starting in the back court as well.

Projected starters

West

PG: Ja Morant
SG: Stephen Curry
SF: Luka Doncic
PF: LeBron James
C: Nikola Jokic

East

PG: Trae Young
SG: DeMar DeRozan
SF: Kevin Durant
PF: Giannis Antetokounmpo
C: Joel Embiid