On Thursday, the NBA released the first All-Star voting leaders. The votes are from fans, who make up 50 percent of the total votes that determine the starters for the All-Star Game. After the fan votes are finalized, NBA personnel will send in their votes to finalize both the starting lineups and reserves.
The NBA season is over one-third already done, which is crazy to consider. There has already been a singular trade this season, with plenty of more to come before the February 8 trade deadline. With the turn of the calendar year, many teams will now focus on either the playoffs or the draft lottery, guiding their trade decisions and asking prices.
Before the playoffs, though, is the All-Star Game. Halfway through every season, the NBA holds the annual All-Star Game, which will be held in Indianapolis this season on Sunday, February 18.
The All-Star Game will cap off another full weekend of festivities, including the Rising Stars game, Three-Point Contest, Slam Dunk Contest and the newest addition Skills Challenge. While over recent seasons the All-Star Game has included an All-Star draft with the highest vote-getter of each conference serving as captain, this year's exhibition will return to the former East versus West format.
How the Cavaliers stack up in fan voting
The Cleveland Cavaliers had a lone top vote-getter throughout the top ten Eastern Conference backcourt members. That player is none other than Donovan Mitchell. He is currently ranked as the fourth-highest guard in the Eastern Conference. If the votes are any indicator of the final rosters, Mitchell should wind up in the All-Star Game for the fifth time in his six-year career.
The only names ahead of Mitchell are Indiana's Tyrese Haliburton, Milwaukee's Damian Lillard and Atlanta's Trae Young. Last season, Young was not on the All-Star roster for good reason. Not only has he been a traffic cone on defense for all of his career, but his efficiency can often be short of satisfactory.
This season, Young's 3-point percentage has gone up from 33.5 percent last season to 38 percent. He is also second in the NBA in assists per game with 11.3 assists per game, behind Tyrese Haliburton's 12.7 assists per game.
As for Mitchell, he has averaged 27.7 points, 5.6 assists and 5.6 rebounds per game alongside a career-high 1.9 steals - the current highest average in the Eastern Conference. The Cavaliers' underwhelming season likely contributed to Mitchell's drop in voting, but he will still likely earn his second consecutive All-Star appearance as a Cavalier.
There are no other Cavaliers anywhere in the top ten in the Eastern Conference frontcourt or backcourt fan votes. Jarrett Allen has had a phenomenal stretch
for the Cavs during the past few weeks but has a lot of talent ahead of him in the frontcourt in the Eastern Conference.
Evan Mobley and Darius Garland could have been higher in the fan voting if they were not injured, but that is not necessarily a sure thing, considering both players missed the All-Star festivities last season. Garland was turning a corner in his effectiveness this season shortly before his fractured jaw, especially considering his poor start.
LeBron James, a former Cavalier, is once again ranked first overall in the Western Conference frontcourt and the second-highest vote-getter in the whole league, only behind Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Another former Cavalier forward, Lauri Markkanen, is also nowhere to be found in the fan voting, which is odd considering he has comparable stats to his All-Star campaign last season. Last season, Markkanen averaged 25.6 points and 8.6 rebounds on 50/39/88 shooting splits, earning the Finnish forward his first All-Star appearance and the 2022-23 Most Improved Player award.
All in all, the Cleveland Cavaliers may not be getting multiple players in the All-Star game, but it looks like Donovan Mitchell will be a sure-fire player to make the game. Unfortunately, he might be a reserve instead of a starter, like he was last season.
Fans who want to contribute to Mitchell's and other Cavaliers' place in All-Star voting can vote once per day on the NBA website. The All-Star starters will be announced later this month on January 25, whereas the reserves will be announced on February 1.