The NBA has changed the format of its All-Star ballot, removing the center position and splitting players into backcourt and frontcourt categories.
NBA executive vice president of basketball operations Stu Jackson announced the change Wednesday. For the first time, fans will choose two guards and three frontcourt players when selecting starters for the 2013 NBA All-Star Game in Houston.
In years past, fans had to vote for two guards, two forwards and a center. Jackson said the change was made to reflect the game’s changes, which has seen the disappearance of the dominant center over the past decade and an emphasis on smaller, quicker lineups.
“The NBA’s competition committee and the league office agreed that having the center position as the only specific position singled out on the ballot was outdated and not representative of today’s game or players,” Jackson said in a statement. “Our players have become more versatile each season, and this ballot will more accurately reflect that versatility.”
Centers such as Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum now will be listed as frontcourt players. So will forwards such as Chris Bosh, who will spend the majority of his minutes this season as a de facto center for the Miami Heat.
UPDATE: According to a league spokesman, coaches will have the same flexibility in selecting reserves.
Previously, coaches – in addition to not selecting any of their own players – were required to choose two guards, two forwards, a center and two players regardless of position. Now they will choose two guards, three frontcourt players and two other players.