For Carmelo Anthony to start in the NBA All-Star Game, he has some ground to make up.
The NBA released the first returns of the 2016 All-Star fan voting on Friday, and Anthony was fourth among Eastern Conference frontcourt players. The top three qualify for the starting lineup.
Kristaps Porzingis was eighth in Eastern Conference frontcourt voting with 85,606 votes, the most among NBA rookies this season. No other rookie was among the top 15 frontcourt or top 10 backcourt players in either conference.
No member of the Nets is among the conference’s top 15 frontcourt or top 10 backcourt vote-getters.
Anthony, an eight-time All-Star who has been a starter the last six years, received 132,119 votes. He trails Cavaliers forward LeBron James (who led the Eastern Conference with 357,937 votes), Pacers forward Paul George (283,785) and Pistons center Andre Drummond (148,278).
Anthony, in his 13th season and coming off knee surgery, is averaging 21.8 points per game, his lowest since his second year in the league, and shooting only 42.1 percent from the floor, the lowest of his career.
George is averaging a career-high 25.0 points per game after suffering a broken leg, a gruesome injury that cost him a majority of last season. Drummond is in the midst of a breakout season, averaging 18.2 points and a league-best 16.1 rebounds.
Lakers star Kobe Bryant, who will retire at the end of the season, led all players with 719,235 votes. Stephen Curry, who leads the league in scoring at 30.8 points per game and has led the Warriors to a 28-1 record, had the second-highest total with 510,202.
Heat guard Dwyane Wade was the top vote-getter among Eastern Conference guards with 300,595 votes. Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving, who has played in only three games this season after knee surgery, was second with 138,191.
The NBA All-Star Game will be played in Toronto on Feb. 14. The game was played at Madison Square Garden last season, and Anthony finished third in the Eastern Conference’s frontcourt with 647,005 votes, trailing James and Bulls center Pau Gasol.
Anthony has been voted an Eastern Conference starter in each of his four full seasons with the Knicks. He also was voted a Western Conference starter in the two seasons before that as a member of the Denver Nuggets.