Kobe Bryant leads Western Conference in All-Star votes

Not that this should be a surprise.

But there’s no question Kobe Bryant will appear in what will be his 15th NBA All-Star game.

The Lakers guard leads the Western Conference with 639,419 votes to appear in the 2013 All-Star game on Feb. 17 Although the NBA amended the ballot this season by eliminating the center position, that hasn’t hurt Lakers center Dwight Howard. He’s the West’s leading frontcourt player with 434,168 votes.

Meanwhile, Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant, Miami’s LeBron James and New York’s Carmelo Anthony aren’t just competing with Bryant as the league’s best player. They’re competing for the most votes too.

James has the league’s highest votes (641,348). Durant ranks second in the West behind Bryant with 605,965 votes. And Anthony ranks second behind James in the East with 573,112 votes.

Fan voting ends Jan. 14 and TNT will announce the results live on Jan. 17. The fans vote for the starting lineup, featuring two guards and three frontcourt players. The coaches then vote for the reserves.

That’s why it’s unlikely other Lakers will make the team.

Despite averaging a career-low 12.6 points per game on 42 percent shooting, Gasol ranks fifth among frontcourt players (139,868 votes). He trails Durant, Howard, the Clippers’ Blake Griffin (307,855) and San Antonio’s Tim Duncan (189,577 votes). Lakers forward Metta World Peace ranks 14th among frontcourt players with 59,167 votes. Even though he’s only played in 1 1/2 games, Lakers guard Steve Nash ranks sixth among backcourt players (118,073 votes).

Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter.

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