NBA All-Star ballot: Zach Lowe's 2021 picks and tough decisions

LeBron, KD highlight 2021 NBA All-Star starters (1:42)

Check out some of the most exciting highlights from the All-Star starters of the first half of the 2021 season. (1:42)

It's time for the agonizing exercise of picking 12 NBA All-Stars for each conference. Rules:

• I follow the same format as fans and media in voting starters, and coaches in choosing reserves. I had an official ballot for the starters. Coaches have more leeway with positions in picking reserves. Their ballots were due Monday. Any reserve picks in the media don't actually count.

• I usually focus on production in each particular season, but that was trickier this time. Starter ballots were due when most teams had played between 25 and 30 games. Lots of candidates missed time due to injuries and coronavirus protocols. Samples are smaller, choices blurrier.