The NBA has released the first returns for the 2011 All-Star voting with some predictable names leading the charge and some predictable issues with results again this year. Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash is the only local player to show up on the list so far. Nash is fourth in voting among all Western Conference Guards behind Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul and Manu Ginobili. Kobe leads the NBA in total All-Star votes received.
It's hard to argue with those guard returns so far. The guys Nash is behind are playing great and, in fact, fans from Utah and Oklahoma have reason to gripe that Deron Williams and Russell Westbrook trail the Suns point guard.
Even with Amare Stoudemire now in the Eastern Conference, the forward position continues to be packed full of worthy All-Star candidates. Kevin Durant leads the way, followed by Pau Gasol, Carmelo Anthony, Dirk Nowitzki and then Tim Duncan. That's a pretty strong list of players.
This is why the Suns were always happy to see Stoudemire listed as a center on the ballot, where the competition is less fierce. Interestingly enough, Amare is considered a forward this season for the Knicks, despite playing most of his time at the pivot. This is the problem with an NBA All-Star ballot, which is set before the season even starts.
Yet another perennial All-Star voting issue is the overwhelming number of Chinese fans voting for Yao Ming. Ming has barely played this season and yet is the top vote-getter among centers in the West. Although the same can be said for Lakers fans that gave Andrew Bynum enough votes to be second despite having not played a single game until this week.
The lack of depth and poor voting continues as the Maverick's Brendan Haywood comes in third despite not even starting on his own team. Perhaps the best center in the West is Marc Gasol (fourth in voting), but he plays in obscurity in Memphis, so doesn't garner the votes he deserves.
Below is the full voting results for the first returns for both conferences.
2011 NBA ALL-STAR BALLOTING
Forwards: Kevin Durant (OKC) 470,881; Pau Gasol (LAL) 390,808; Carmelo Anthony (Den) 369,768; Dirk Nowitzki (Dal) 264,301; Tim Duncan (SA) 247,364; Blake Griffin (LAC) 245,167; Lamar Odom (LAL) 134,594; Luis Scola (Hou) 119,901; Caron Butler (Dal) 96,785; Kevin Love (Min) 81,865.
Guards: Kobe Bryant (LAL) 722,682; Chris Paul (NO) 386,649; Manu Ginobili (SA) 230,137; Steve Nash (Pho) 190,226; Deron Williams (Utah) 184,148; Jason Kidd (Dal) 141,283; Russell Westbrook (OKC) 140,519; Eric Gordon (LAC) 113,510; Tony Parker (SA) 103,238, Derek Fisher (LAL) 81,088.
Centers: Yao Ming (Hou) 430,984; Andrew Bynum (LAL) 198,044; Brendan Haywood (Dal) 127,375; Marc Gasol (Mem) 120,811; Emeka Okafor (NOH) 115,647; Nene (Den) 105,747; Chris Kaman (LAC) 87,536; Marcus Camby (Por) 57,046; DeMarcus Cousins (Sac) 37,571; Andris Biedrins (GS) 36,655
2011 NBA ALL-STAR BALLOTING
Forwards: LeBron James (Mia) 607,994; Kevin Garnett (Bos) 456,111; Amar'e Stoudemire (NYK) 327,626 Paul Pierce (Bos) 235,107; Chris Bosh (Mia) 161,801; Josh Smith (Atl) 104,713; Carlos Boozer (Chi) 82,655; Andre Iguodala (Phi) 71,517; Danny Granger (Ind) 66,759; Luol Deng (Chi) 52,398.
Guards: Dwyane Wade (Mia) 570,489; Rajon Rondo (Bos) 497,141; Derrick Rose (Chi) 424,356; Ray Allen (Bos) 235,977; John Wall (Was) 120,284; Vince Carter (Orl) 117,628; Gilbert Arenas (Was) 88,599; Brandon Jennings (Mil) 65,705; Joe Johnson (Atl) 46,811; Jamal Crawford (Atl) 31,524.
Centers: Dwight Howard (Orl) 611,561; Shaquille O'Neal (Bos) 241,782; Joakim Noah (Chi) 97,163; Andrea Bargnani (Tor) 53,275; Al Horford (Atl) 49,098; Andrew Bogut (Mil) 48,298; Brook Lopez (NJ) 38,103; JaVale McGee (Was) 36,227; Roy Hibbert (Ind) 35,006; Ben Wallace (Det) 21,858.
This play probably isn't going to help Nash get any more All-Star votes ... but it should.