NBA removes center position from All-Star ballot
by Adi Joseph, USA TODAY Sports
Cranky NBA fans bemoan the lack of quality post play like clockwork. The league’s making All-Star voting easier for them.
The NBA All-Star Game no longer will feature starting centers. In a move to address the league’s dearth of big men, fans will be allowed to vote for two backcourt players (guards) and three frontcourt players (forwards or centers) on All-Star ballots according to NBA.com.
The move will free up more spots for forwards, an overcrowded position for years. In the 1990s, it became common for young stars, including Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett, to request listing as forwards despite their center-like attributes. Duncan has been the San Antonio Spurs’ tallest starter and primary paint defender since David Robinson retired, but he continues to be listed as a forward on the All-Star ballot.
Teams have moved to smaller lineups, and players such as Garnett for the Boston Celtics are now called centers. Those shifts in play spurred the league’s competition committee to the decision.
“It makes sense,” Stu Jackson, NBA vice president of basketball operations, told NBA.com. “It made sense to our Competition Committee. Having a center is the only specific position that was singled out on the ballot. It just seemed a little outdated and didn’t represent the way our game has evolved. By the same token, it also affords the same opportunity, if you have two good centers in a given year, pick ‘em both. They both can be selected. Which is impossible right now.”
The league’s best center? He might be an All-Star either way. Dwight Howard is a Los Angeles Laker, and that team tends to fair well in fan voting. Howard posted 19 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks Sunday in his Lakers debut.