Steph Curry, Kevin Durant named starters in 2017 All-Star Game

Steph Curry, Kevin Durant named starters in 2017 All-Star Game

Warriors guard Stephen Curry has been voted to start the NBA All-Star Game for the fourth consecutive season, and this time there was a measure of suspense.

Curry will join Rockets guard James Harden in the backcourt for the Western Conference squad, as voters snubbed MVP candidate and triple-double specialist Russell Westbrook of Oklahoma City.

Joining Curry and Harden in the starting lineup for the West will be Warriors forward Kevin Durant, Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard and Pelicans forward/center Anthony Davis.

A combination of fan balloting (50 percent), player balloting (25 percent) and media balloting (25 percent) comprises the overall vote.

Curry’s selection is sure to generate considerable debate, as Westbrook leads the league in scoring (30.6 points per game), is second in assists and 11th (10.4) in rebounding (10.6). Westbrook also leads the league in PER at 29.56.

Moreover, he is bidding to become the first player since Oscar Robertson in 1961-62 to average a triple-double over the course of a full season.

Coming off back-to-back MVP seasons, Curry ranks 12th in scoring (24.6 points per game), 15th in assists (6.1), second in 3-pointers made (158) and eighth in steals (1.81). His 92.6-percent shooting from the line ranks second in the NBA.

He is the first Warrior since Wilt Chamberlain to start four straight All-Star games.

Durant, in his first season with the Warriors, leads the team in scoring (26.2) and blocks (1.71) and double-doubles (16). He’s second in rebounding (8.6) and third in assists (4.7). His 54.4-percent shooting from the field is 10th in the league and tops among perimeter players.

Durant will be making his eighth appearance, and his fifth as a starter.

The Eastern Conference starters are as follows: guards Kyrie Irving of the Cavaliers and DeMar DeRozan of the Raptors, with frontcourt players LeBron James of the Cavs, Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Bucks and Jimmy Butler of the Bulls.

All-Star reserves, which are chosen by NBA coaches, will be announced on Jan. 26.

Durant's future with the Warriors: 'I’m just in it for the long haul'

Durant's future with the Warriors: 'I’m just in it for the long haul'

With the salary cap rising , Kevin Durant is expected to opt out of the second-year of his two-year contract with Golden State and become a free agent again this summer.

But don't plan on him signing with another team.

“I’m liking it here,” Durant told Sam Amick of USA Today Sports at the Warriors' groundbreaking ceremony. “I’m liking everything that’s going on. I know what my contract says, but I didn’t plan on coming here for just a year. I’m in it right now, and I’m also just focusing on day by day.

“I know it’s cliché, and you hear that all the time, but I’m seriously just not thinking about it because I’m like – I’m just in it for the long haul.”

[RELATED: Durant on Chase Center: 'It'll be fun playing in there']

Warriors owner and CEO Joe Lacob is not concerned about losing Durant.

He also fully anticipates re-signing free-agent-to-be Stephen Curry.

“I have no angst whatsoever," Lacob told Amick. "I totally am positive (that) I think those guys are going to sign. They’re both free agents. They have a right to do whatever they want. They’ve earned it, and I respect that.

"If they don’t sign with us for some reason, then shame on me and us. I take responsibility for that. But I don’t see that happening.”

Stojakovic won't be surprised if Curry, Klay finish Top 2 in career 3s

Stojakovic won't be surprised if Curry, Klay finish Top 2 in career 3s

SACRAMENTO -- The NBA game is changing. League records are in jeopardy all over the place, but it’s hard to imagine a bigger statistical shift than that of the 3-point shot. Instituted to start the 1979-80 season, the 3-pointer isn’t just a gimmick, as first thought. It’s the lifeblood of a league that is growing at an incredible pace.

The ability to make the long distance shot used to be a rarity, now it is a prerequisite to enter the league. Even centers like DeMarcus Cousins and Marc Gasol are letting it fly as the game shifts to the perimeter.

The leaderboard is being rewritten and it’s will likely continue to change as more and more players are lining up from behind the arc.

Sacramento Kings executive Peja Stojakovic knows this fact all too well. Out of the league just six years, the Serbian-born sharpshooter has seen his place in the standings diminished almost every season.

“Every decade, every 10-15 years, there is some new, great player that comes in that take the game to a different place we haven’t seen before,” Stojakovic told CSN California earlier this week. “That’s what’s so special about this game.”

When he retired following the 2010-11 season, Stojakovic ranked fourth all-time in made 3-point shots with 1760, trailing only Ray Allen, Reggie Miller and Jason Kidd.

Since leaving the game, Jason Terry, Paul Pierce, Vince Carter, Jamal Crawford, Kyle Korver, Joe Johnson, Chauncey Billups, Kobe Bryant and Rashard Lewis have all passed him, leaving Stojakovic in 13th place on the list, but only for another game or two.

Golden State Warriors star point guard Stephen Curry is hot on Stojakovic’ tail, trailing the 3-time All-Star by just 11 makes coming into Wednesday night’s matchup with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Be it Wednesday or sometime late in the week, Curry will almost assuredly surpass the former Kings star.

“Records are meant to be broken,” Stojakovic said. “Steph is definitely a guy, that if he continues to shoot - him and Klay (Thompson), if they continue to stay on the same pace, they can climb all the way to one and two.”

Curry, 28, has led the league four straight seasons in makes, setting new standards multiple times. His 402 triples last season is an NBA record and he holds three of the top four spots all-time for 3-balls in a single season.

Thompson is right behind Curry in most seasons. His 276 makes during 2015-16 is the third most in a single season and he is on pace to hit over 250 shots from deep this year. Through five-plus seasons in the league, Thompson has hit 1182 3-pointers and at age 26, he has plenty more left in him.  

“Our league in general has shifted,” Stojakovic said. “It’s more of a guard’s league and the pace is different. A lot of teams are shooting a lot of threes and Golden State - it suits them pretty well with the personnel they have.”

Both Curry and Thompson are a long way from tracking down Allen’s top spot of 2973, although Curry can get there quickly if he continues to drop in 400-plus bombs a season.

Injuries could play a role in where each of these players end up career-wise, but they are well on their way to shattering the record books.

“They are young enough and the way the league is going, I think if they stay healthy, they can really climb up there all the way to the top,” Stojakovic said.