Jan 7, 2023; Sacramento, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) dribbles the ball against the Sacramento Kings in the third quarter at the Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Photo Courtesy of Cary Edmonson/USA Today

The NBA’s All-Star weekend is one of the most exciting times of the season, and as All-Star voting continues, fans have a better idea of who will play in the All-Star game.

The NBA released its first returns on fan votes, and some familiar faces are leading the way. LeBron James leads the Western Conference (and league overall) in votes, and Kevin Durant leads the East.

Voting for All-Star is always fun, and as it continues, I have some picks of my own.

Here are my choices for the Western Conference starters.

1.) LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers

LeBron James continues to excel. James (who recently turned 38) averages 29.1 points, 8.2 rebounds and 6.2 assists. He continues to get closer to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s scoring record of 38,387 career points, and that alone makes him an All-Star.

James is an 18-time All-Star. He first made the game in 2005, and has been an All-Star ever since. And at this rate, he will be an All-Star yet again. James currently has 3,168,694 votes with Kevin Durant being the closest player in votes with 3,118,545.

James will be an All-Star, and come February, we could see him win his fourth All-Star MVP.

2.) Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets

Nikola Jokic is an exceptional player. The two-time MVP is having another great season, as he averages 25.3 points, 10.8 rebounds, 9.5 assists and 1.4 steals.

Jokic’s performance this season has helped the Denver Nuggets obtain the best record in the West, beating teams like the Memphis Grizzlies, the Phoenix Suns and other contenders. Jokic is second in West frontcourt votes with 2,237,768 votes and at this rate, he is bound to be an All-Star starter.

3.) Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans

Zion Williamson is having a solid season. He averages 26.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.1 steals.

The Pelicans are third in the West, and Williamson plays a big role. He is showing what he is capable of when healthy, and despite recently suffering a hamstring injury, he is still deserving of an All-Star spot. Williamson has a total of 1,924,222 votes. Lakers forward Anthony Davis has more votes with 2,063,325, but my deciding factor is the Pelicans outplaying the Lakers this season. Williamson will be an All-Star regardless but it will be interesting to see if he becomes a starter.

4.) Steph Curry, Golden State Warriors

Steph Curry remains one of the most popular players in the league. With 2,715,520 votes, he and Mavericks guard Luka Doncic lead the way in a stacked West backcourt race.

Curry averages 30.0 points, 6.8 assists and 6.6 rebounds. He also shoots 43 percent from 3-point range.

The Warriors are not having their typical season. They are sixth in the West with a record of 20-20. So, they are still playoff bound but not necessarily a contender. But despite their underwhelming performance, Curry continues to shine.

Curry is out with an injury, but if he is healthy by All-Star, fans will likely see him in his ninth All-Star game.

5.) Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks

Luka Doncic is one of the NBA’s most exciting players. He had a spectacular game earlier this season, when he had 60 points, 21 rebounds and 10 assists.

Doncic is an MVP candidate, as he averages 34.0 points, 8.8 rebounds, 8.7 assists and 1.6 steals. The young star has a total of 2,388,502 votes. He and Curry are the only West guards to have over a million votes (so far). Players like Ja Morant, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Klay Thompson and others are receiving votes but have a long way to go before reaching Curry and Doncic. With that said, Doncic will likely be a starter (and rightfully so) and with so many guards in the race, someone will be snubbed from the All-Star game completely.

The All-Star weekend is getting closer, and in a few days, the NBA will release its second returns. Will we see any (drastic) changes?

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