Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins both top-three in initial returns of West frontcourt fan vote

by Jim Eichenhofer

The NBA All-Star Game has a brand-new format in 2018, but based on the first returns of fan voting announced Thursday by the league, the midseason showcase will likely feature two New Orleans Pelicans big men who’ve become fixtures in mid-February.

Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins placed second and third, respectively, among Western Conference frontcourt players, amassing 350,000-plus fan votes apiece. Kevin Durant topped West frontcourt players, with Davis and Cousins also garnering top-three status; when voting is completed on Jan. 18, the top-two backcourt and top-three frontcourt vote-getters from both NBA conferences will automatically be selected as All-Stars.

All-Star starters, including the two captains who’ll choose their teammates themselves based on the first-time format, will be announced by TNT during its pregame show on Jan. 18. The network will unveil the All-Star reserves on Jan. 23, as selected by NBA head coaches, followed by the All-Star team rosters being announced Jan. 25 during a one-hour episode of TNT NBA Tip-Off.

Davis, a four-time All-Star, earned All-Star Game MVP honors last season while setting a record for most points scored in that game with 52. Cousins is a three-time All-Star who coincidentally learned that he was joining the Pelicans minutes after the ’17 All-Star Game in the Smoothie King Center.

Fan voting will account for 50 percent of the process that determines All-Star starters, with current players and a media panel representing 25 percent each.