The NBA released the second returns for fan All-Star voting this afternoon, with a trio of Spurs cracking the top ten at their respective positions. Kawhi Leonard topped all Spurs with 630,766 votes, good for third place in the Western Conference Frontcourt category behind Golden State Warriors Kevin Durant and yes, Zaza Pachulia.
A native of the republic of Georgia, Pachulia has received a push from his fellow countrymen, much like he did last season when he was also a frontrunner in fan voting. With players and media also having a say in selecting All-Star starters for the first time, the Pachulia vote is expected to balance out, clearing the way for Leonard’s consecutive All-Star appearance.
Whether any other Spurs join Leonard in New Orleans will likely be left up to NBA coaches, who decide on reserves for the league’s mid-season classic. LaMarcus Aldridge received 192,784 fan votes ranking him eighth among Western Conference frontcourt players. Two-time All Star, Manu Ginobili, garnered 122,333 votes placing him ninth in the Western Conference Guards category.
Jonathon Simmons supporters have recently launched a social media campaign to have the Spurs swingman included in the Slam Dunk Contest at All-Star Weekend. No Spur has ever captured the Slam Dunk crown at All-Star Saturday Night’s signature event, so being included in the competition could continue Simmons’ storybook ascension. Although former Spur Brent Barry won the contest in San Antonio, he was wearing a Clippers jersey then, not the silver and black.
Voting for the 66th NBA All-Star Game continues through Monday, with starters announced on Thursday, January 19 via TNT. Next up for the Spurs is a Thursday night showdown against the Los Angeles Lakers. With Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant both retired, the matchup has lost a bit of its luster, although San Antonio’s Jordan Clarkson is no slouch.