LeBron, Curry new leaders in All-Star voting

LeBron, Curry new leaders in All-Star voting

Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James leads NBA All-Star balloting with less than a week remaining in the fan vote.

James leapfrogged Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo and now leads him by more than 140,000 votes in the second vote tabulation, released by the NBA on Thursday.

Golden State’s Stephen Curry leads the voting in the Western Conference, pulling ahead of teammate Kevin Durant by more than 40,000 votes.

The conference leaders are significant this season. Under a new All-Star Game format, the player who receives the most votes in each conference will serve as a captain, choosing his team from the pool of players voted in as starters and reserves.

As in previous seasons, the starters will be determined by the fan vote as well as a vote among current players and media. Fans will account for 50 percent, while all current players and a media panel will account for 25 percent each. Voting will conclude Monday.

Players will be sorted by conference and position (guards and frontcourt players), and the two top guards and three top frontcourt players will be named starters. NBA head coaches will select the reserves. The two captains will then draft a team based on the pool of players.

In the Eastern Conference, James (1,622,838), Antetokounmpo (1,480,954) and Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid are currently the top three frontcourt players in the fan vote. New York‘s Kristaps Porzingis (640,928) is fourth. Kyrie Irving (1,370,643) and Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan (537,168) are the top two guards. Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons (397,942) is third.

In the Western Conference, Durant (1,326,059), New Orleans’ Anthony Davis (664,687) and Golden State’s Draymond Green (616,730) are the top three frontcourt players. New Orleans’ DeMarcus Cousins (587,835) is fourth.

Curry (1,369,658) and Houston’s James Harden (978,540) are the top two guards. Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook (791,332) is third.

The starters and captains will be revealed Jan. 18, and the reserves will be announced Jan. 23. Full team rosters will be announced Jan. 25. The All-Star Game will be Feb. 18 in Los Angeles.

Published at Thu, 11 Jan 2018 19:11:07 +0000

Fitzpatrick, Harrison join Bama exodus to NFL

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama’s quest to repeat as national champions will have to go on without a handful of key underclassmen who have opted to forgo their senior seasons to enter the NFL draft.

Defensive backs Minkah Fitzpatrick and Ronnie Harrison and running back Bo Scarbrough made their decisions official during a news conference in Tuscaloosa on Thursday.

Star wideout Calvin Ridley already decided to turn pro official on Wednesday, posting a note to his social media accounts. Coach Nick Saban confirmed that defensive tackle Da’Ron Payne would enter the draft as well.

“From a business standpoint, this is a good decision for them,” Saban said.

He added: “I can’t say enough about the contribution these guys have made. It seems like yesterday we were in their houses recruiting them.”

The good news for Saban and the coaching staff is that leading rusher Damien Harris opted to come back despite posting back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons.

The receiving corps will be hurt by the loss of Ridley, who is one of only two players in program history to post 200 career receptions. ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. has him as the No. 1 draft-eligible wideout.

With Ridley off to the NFL, Alabama will likely turn to a talented crop of freshman receivers, including Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs and DeVonta Smith, who caught the winning touchdown against Georgia.

No position will be affected more than defensive back, though, where Fitzpatrick and Harrison are the No. 1- and No. 3-ranked safeties available in the draft, respectively, according to Kiper.

Ranked No. 3 by Kiper in his draft-eligible position rankings, Payne had six tackles against Georgia in the title game and a key interception and a touchdown reception against Clemson in the Sugar Bowl.

Published at Thu, 11 Jan 2018 19:34:37 +0000