As the votes for the 2011 NBA All-Star game continue to pour in, the usual suspects top the list in the Eastern and Western Conferences, but a pair of new faces are gaining steam in the East.
In the NBA's final balloting update before the starters are announced on Jan. 27, the Knicks' Amare Stoudemire has surged past Kevin Garnett with 1,493,391 votes (vs. KG's 1,049,544), while Chicago's Derrick Rose looks like the front-runner to start at point guard now that he's overtaken another Celtic, Rajon Rondo, with 1,225,575 votes (to Rondo's 1,171,311).
So, in the East, that leaves us with the following line-up:
- C - Dwight Howard
- PF - Amare Stoudemire
- SF - LeBron James
- SG - Dwyane Wade
- PG - Derrick Rose
At the moment, Howard leads all Eastern Conference players with nearly 1.6 million votes, but LeBron James remains within striking distance, trailing Howard by less than 20,000 votes. As for the Western Conference, Kobe Bryant leads all vote-getters with more than 1.75 million votes, and Kevin Durant tops out among the forwards with close to 1.3 million. Beyond that, the current lineup looks like this:
- C - Yao Ming (injured), Andrew Bynum
- PF - Carmelo Anthony
- SF - Kevin Durant
- SG - Kobe Bryant
- PG - Chris Paul
And even putting aside the obvious hole at center (starring two injury-plagued disappointments), comparing the two lineups leaves you asking: When did the East become this much better than the West?
The Lakers have won two straight titles, and for nearly a decade, the West has been considered the deeper, more talented conference. But looking at the new blood in the East next to the lineup for the West, you have to wonder whether the tables have finally turned in the East's favor.