The slow and steady extinction of classic NBA centers has forced the league to take drastic measures: folks will no longer have to vote for an undeserving seven-footer just to fill the requisite center slot at the All-Star Game. Instead, the ballot will simply ask for votes on three “frontcourt” players of the fans’ choosing.
"It makes sense," VP of Basketball Operations Stu Jackson said (via 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 It just seemed a little outdated and didn't represent the way our game has evolved.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."
Exactly. The move also makes sense just for All-Star game purposes. Roy Hibbert and Andrew Bynum really have no place in an outing that is all about dazzling dunks and nifty displays of athleticism. Aside from Dwight Howard, there isn’t a five in the league that fits into the way this thing is typically played. (Particularly in the first three quarters.)
"It was something that we originally thought made some sense, but we didn't want to make a decision in a vacuum, of course," Jackson said. "We ran it by the Competition Committee and they thought the idea made some sense ... it gives the fans some flexibility while keeping competitive balance."
The All-Star Game will take place on Feb. 17 at the Toyota Center in Houston.