Simmons sitting in prime position to crack NBA All-Star starting lineup

Westbrook George & Anthony on First Returns for All Star Voting

Westbrook George & Anthony on First Returns for All Star Voting Weston Shepherd

Warriors' Kevin Durant leads the Western Conference in the first fan returns for the NBA All-Star game with 767,402 votes.

Joining Antetokounmpo and James at the top of the Eastern Conference frontcourt are Philadelphia's Joel Embiid (433,161) and New York Knicks' Kristaps Porzingis (359,459). Russell Westbrook is third among backcourt players with 438,469 votes, Paul George is fifth in the frontcourt with 291,495 votes, and Carmelo Anthony rings in at number seven in the frontcourt with 194,239 votes.

Those players will be selected in a draft by the two leading vote-getters, who will be appointed captains for the respective sides.

The All-Star Game captains and starters will be announced on TNT Jan. 18, and the reserves will be announced Jan. 23.

The complete All-Star teams will then be unveiled January 25 on TNT (7 p.m. ET), although it's unclear if the order of the captains' picks will be revealed.

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If Simmons is able to break through into the top two spots, he would put himself in prime position for an opportunity to start in the marquee game on Monday, February 20th in Los Angeles. Fans will account for 50 percent, while all current players and a media panel will account for 25 percent each. So each team's captain must still pick players who would be All-Stars under the old format, but there are no longer conference restrictions. The leading vote-receiver from each conference will be given rights to choose his team, but starters will be pre-determined by the results.

This year's NBA All-Star voting, though, has shown that the generation beyond that may be foremost in the minds of fans.

The next fan voting update will be shared on Friday, Jan. 12 (AEDT), with fan voting ending on Tuesday, Jan. 16.

There will be three frontcourt players and two guards chosen for each starting lineup, meaning Embiid now has a decent chance of starting in the game. Voting will conclude at 10:59 p.m.

NBA fans may submit one full ballot each day through NBA.com, the NBA App (available on Android and iOS), Twitter, Facebook and Google Search, as well as via Sina Weibo and Tencent Microblogs in China.

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