NBA All-Star voting opens with speculation rising

OKC Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook

NEW YORK,NY – FEBRUARY 15: Russell Westbrook #0, representing the OKC Thunder, looks on during the 2015 NBA All-Star Game at Madison Square Garden on February 15, 2015 in New York,New York. Copyright 2015 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

Despite getting off to a slow start to begin the season, the OKC Thunder should have a strong presence in the All-Star game.

The 2018 All-Star Game will be unlike any All-Star Game the NBA has ever seen. The voting remains the same as fans, media and players all make up a their own respective portion. The major difference, however, is that players will no longer be separated into East and West.

The two highest players from the fan vote will be the team captains. They will draft their respective teams with no regards for conference – it’s sure to provide interesting repercussions.

With this being the first year of the new format, it will be interesting to see how the teams even out. Will captains opt to choose their own teammates over more talented players (i.e. Stephen Curry picking Klay Thompson over Russell Westbrook)? Or will it be a total free-for-all?

Regardless of the tough start, we can expect to see at least two members of the “OK3” on the court in some fashion. Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony have all earned the respect in their careers to garner support in the voting process.

Seeing as how Westbrook only has one speed, he should provide some fireworks for this year’s game.

All-Star Weekend never disappoints, but Thunder fans don’t need to worry about this weekend one bit. For now the focus is fine-tuning the offense and finding the right lineups. Among other things, we should expect Oklahoma City to settle into more solidified rotations to help generate more high-percentage looks.

Players such as Terrance Ferguson, Raymond Felton, Alex Abrines and Patrick Patterson will be competing for playing time. Those players should see the All-Star break as a deadline to find their niche in the rotation and make an impact in whatever playing time they get between then and now.