Golden State Warriors center Zaza Pachulia, right, defends against a pass by Utah Jazz forward Joe Ingles during the second half at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Golden State won 106-99. Reuters

Around this time last year, then-Dallas Mavericks center Zaza Pachulia came a little more than 14,000 votes shy of starting the 2016 NBA All-Star Game. Now with the Golden State Warriors, the Georgian is once again in the running for one of the starting spots and even ahead of one of his teammates.

The NBA released on Thursday the first voting results for 2017’s All-Star Game in New Orleans and the 6-foot-11 Pachulia is currently second behind fellow Warrior Kevin Durant for a starting nod in the Western Conference’s frontcourt.

In 2016, thanks to a big push from his Georgia compatriots, as well as help from hip-hop artist and producer Wyclef Jean, Pachulia totaled 768,112 votes and finished fourth among all West frontcourt players.

This year, Pachulia has generated 439,675 votes compared to Durant’s 541,209. The 13-year veteran Pachulia, who’s averaging 5.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists over 17.7 minutes per game, has nearly 100,000 more votes than reigning Defensive Player of the Year Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs, New Orleans Pelicans center and jack-of-all-trades Anthony Davis, the Sacramento Kings DeMarcus Cousins and even Golden State teammate and forward Draymond Green.

The Cleveland Cavaliers duo of forward LeBron James and Kyrie Irving lead all players with the most votes. James has 595,288 votes and Irving 543,030.

Golden State's Stephen Curry, the Houston Rockets’ James Harden and the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Russell Westbrook, thus far, join James and Irving as the only players to crack the 500,000 vote barrier.

All four players, given their teams' success and that of their own, are almost certain locks to start and play in New Orleans, but Pachulia's support is likely to fade like it did last year.

The NBA switched up its All-Star voting process for this season partially because of Pachulia. Now, fans make up 50 percent of the vote, while players and members of the media are allowed to vote for the first time and each makes up 25 percent.

The next results will be released on Jan. 12, and fan voting ends Jan. 16. The All-Star starting lineups will be announced Jan. 19. The reserves will then be named on Jan. 26.