Before coaches eventually selected him as a reserve for his first All-Star appearance last season, Durant ranked fifth among West forwards in the first returns for the 2010 game. Durant had garnered 177,205 votes then, behind Carmelo Anthony, Dirk Nowitzki, Pau Gasol and Tim Duncan. Durant now leads all those players by at least 80,000 votes.
When reminded that he would never start if coaches voted him in each year Durant responded, â€œThat's fine with me. I'm still a part of it.â€
Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, meanwhile, appears to be on the same trajectory as Durant a year ago. After failing to crack the top 11 players in the first returns of fan voting last year, Westbrook has risen to seventh among West guards this season. Westbrook, with 140,519 votes, currently trails Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Manu Ginobili, Steve Nash, Deron Williams and Jason Kidd.
â€œAs long as our team is doing good, that's a good thing to have on your side,â€ Westbrook said.