James receives boost as top name in public voting so far.
Miami Heat star LeBron James is the early front-runner in the All-Star voting ballot, edging Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant out for top spot.
The 28-year-old has 609,336 votes, compared to Durant who trails with around 2,000 less votes in the first returns announced by the league on Thursday.
Given the start to the season, many expect the Western Conference stars to defeat their rivals from the East, as aside from the Indiana Pacers and Miami, the remaining teams have all struggled due to both form and injuries.
In contrast, the competitiveness of the West has been a stand-out feature of the NBA season so far, with a number of teams vying for a place in the post-season.
Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant and Clippers rivals Chris Paul pace the back-court players for the West with 501,215 and 393,313 votes respectively.
Despite missing the opening stages of the season with his Achilles injury, Bryant remains a fans favourite and will look to put on a similarly impressive performance compared to that of last year’s All-Star game.
The Heat’s Dwyane Wade (396,279) and Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving (365,712) have opened up an early lead in terms of the back-court for the East.
Paul George of the Indiana Pacers (489,335) and the New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony (424,211) are next in the Eastern Conference, and the duo will likely be joined by Roy Hibbert who has begun the season well in his quest to claim the Defensive Player of the Year award.
The Rockets’ Dwight Howard (295,120) and the Clippers’ Blake Griffin (292,925) lead the West frontcourt.
The All-Star game is scheduled to take place in New Orleans on February 16, and as ever will undoubtedly be a thrilling show for NBA fans.