In the latest NBA All-Star voting results, Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard continues to top Miami Heat forward LeBron James as the Eastern Conference's leading vote-getter. Howard leads all Eastern players with 988,572 votes, with James not far behind at 969,459. Kobe Bryant, with over 1 million votes, stands as the only player with more votes than Howard.
This year will mark Howard's fifth straight All-Star appearance. Now in his eighth season, Howard is scoring a career-high 21.5 points per game while still contributing his usual defensive brilliance (9.8 defensive boards, 2.6 blocks). Fans have made Howard the East's starting center in each of the last three seasons; the coaches elected him a reserve the season prior to that.
Howard's Magic teammates aren't likely to join him in Los Angeles for this year's event, at least not as starters. Newly acquired guard Gilbert Arenas is the only other Magic player who ranks in the top 10 at his position, which is the cutoff point for inclusion in the publicly-released results. With 144,889 votes, Arenas trails five other guards in the Eastern Conference.
At present, Kevin Garnett, Howard, James, Rajon Rondo, and Dwyane Wade would comprise the East's starting five. Out West, Carmelo Anthony, Bryant, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, and Yao Ming would get the nod. Because Yao is injured, Commissioner David Stern would name a replacement.