The first returns of the NBA All-Star voting are out and the Miami Heat, predictably, are getting little love.
The only Heat player among the top 10 ‘frontcourt’ players and ‘guards’ in the Eastern Conference voting is Hassan Whiteside, who is ninth among big men.
Guard Goran Dragic, who leads the Heat with 19.0 points and 6.8 assists per game, is not listed among the top 10 ‘guards’.
Two former Heat players remain among the more popular players in the game. Cleveland forward LeBron James leads all players with 595,288 votes and Chicago’s Dwyane Wade is second among guards with 278,052 votes, nearly 265,000 votes behind the Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving.
The Heat (11-26) have the most losses in the league and the third-worst winning percentage (.297).
The voting breaks the players into two categories in each conference. The frontcourt includes all small forwards, power forwards and centers. The guards include all point guards and shooting guards.
Whiteside has 72,628 votes. Although he is ninth, the only center with more votes in the East is Philadelphia’s Joel Embid, who is fourth among the frontcourt players.
The West has six centers among the top 10 frontcourt players and all with more votes than Whiteside.
Whiteside leads the league with 14.3 rebounds per game and is fourth in blocks with a 2.24 average. He is averaging 17.3 points while shooting .546. Whiteside has missed the last three games because of a retinal contusion but is expected to return this weekend.
James is followed by Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo, and his teammate Kevin Love as the top three frontcourt court vote getters in the East.
Golden State’s Kevin Durant and Zaza Pachulia and San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard top the Western Conference frontcourt while the Warriors’ Stephen Curry and Houston’s James Harden have the most votes among the guards.
OKC’s Russell Westbrook, who is averaging a triple-double – 30.9 points, 10.5 assists, 10.5 rebounds – is third among guards in the West.
For the first time, NBA players and basketball media will join fans in selecting the starters. Fans will account for 50 percent of the vote, while all current players and a media panel will account for 25 percent each. Player and media voting will begin next week, with each voter completing one full ballot featuring two guards and three frontcourt players from both conferences.
The All-Star Game is Feb. 19 in New Orleans.