The NBA changed the way they categorize players for All-Star voting purposes last season, eliminating the center position (and all others) from the ballot entirely and replacing those with either a frontcourt or backcourt player distinction.
While it won’t affect superstar big men like Roy Hibbert making the All-Star roster, it will change the way the starting lineups shake out.
The more exciting players who fill up the nightly highlight reels are the ones who the fans will vote in as starters, and that means we could see a highly unusual jump ball situation to start the midseason exhibition on February 16.
The first set of results won’t be released until Thursday, and voting won’t conclude until Jan. 20, with the starters named Jan. 23. But James, Anthony and George are heavy favorites to gain the top three frontcourt spots. All three are technically small forwards, though Anthony and James both play in the post quite a bit. And of the three, James is the one who has actually guarded centers at times.
Therefore, he would be the center by default.
“That is hilarious,” James said. “That is crazy! I would start at center in the All-Star Game? Against Dwight Howard?”
Howard’s reputation has taken a ht over the past couple of seasons due to the way he handled things in his final year in Orlando and his lone season in Los Angeles, but he has historically ranked very high in the All-Star voting process, and that isn’t likely to change this season.
If not Howard, it could be Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge. But at this point, it appears more than likely that James will be matching up at center against somebody when the All-Star game tips off.