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Center of Attention No More

Posted By Warren Shaw On Oct 25 2012 @ 11:59 am In NBA | 3 Comments

With the presidential campaign season in full swing and the public thinking about their vote, the NBA decided to amend their own voting procedures in reference to the All-Star game.

Without any sort of debate either.

On Tuesday night, David Aldridge of NBA.COM [1] announced the league’s decision to delete the center position from the All-Star ballot effective immediately. Instead fans will have the option to vote for the three best frontcourt players which will obviously include the “traditional” centers amongst that group of players.

VP of Basketball Operations, Stu Jackson was quoted by Aldridge as saying:

“It makes sense. 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 It just seemed a little outdated and didn’t represent the way our game has evolved.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 NBA has and continues to evolve as Jackson alluded to. I applaud the decision to allow the three best frontcourt players a chance to be voted in as starters. The new ballot will most likely change the guard selection title to “backcourt” while incorporating all of the center’s into its new “frontcourt” selection option. That would seem to make sense for consistency of wording on the ballot but official comment from the league is still forthcoming.

This change to the ballot still doesn’t fix the issues of players who will always receive the “popular” vote but it’s nice to know that say a guy like Brook Lopez won’t have to be voted in as an All-Star starter by default (barring injury to Andrew Bynum and nothing against Lopez of course but you catch my drift).

This change doesn’t signal the death of the center position but just recognizes the shift in how teams use the position.

[2]

Bosh and Monroe are two power forwards playing at center in today's NBA

“Power forwards” are either playing Center full time (Kevin Garnett , Greg Monroe, and Chris Bosh) or they spend significant time there in adjusted coaching lineups (Kevin Love, Glen Davis, and LaMarcus Aldridge). Many of these same guys have better than average post-up skills but they would rather be facing the basket to shoot a jumper or drive by their man.  They don’t scoff at the traditional Bill Russell and Shaquille O’neal type of big-man, they just have revolutionized the tradition itself as defensive schemes become more complex and players become more athletic.

Ironically, this revolution has been televised shaped by the likes of Magic Johnson and other players with size who did remarkable things on the court outside of the paint. Shaped also by streetball, and video games where big men have “handles” and can pull up for threes.

Those heavy in nostalgia may find this change distasteful but unlike the “flopping” rule or the “dress code” rule of years ago, I think this is one the NBA got right.

This is today’s NBA and its evolution is constant and imperfectly beautiful.

[3]

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URLs in this post:

[1] NBA.COM: http://www.nba.com/2012/news/10/23/all-star-centers-ballot/index.html?ls=iref:nbahpt6a

[2] Image: http://www.prosportsblogging.com/psb/uploads/2012/10/bosh-2-monroe.jpg

[3] Image: http://www.prosportsblogging.com/psb/uploads/2012/10/NBAEVOLUTION.jpg

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