Is 2012 the year of the positional revolution? After a 2011-2012 playoffs which saw LeBron James and Kevin Durant (two traditional “small forwards”) play extensive minutes at “power forward”, the NBA has moved to change the All Star balloting procedures to reflect the shift towards a more positionally ambiguous game.
With “true centres” appearing to be a dying breed in today’s game, it makes sense to ensure that no undeserving players are voted into the All Star game based on a token positional designation. In years past, such designations have distorted results to where a player like Ben Wallace (a fine player in his day and a defensive behemoth, to be fair) was the second leading overall vote getter in 2004. At the same time, looking through the past few All Star rosters, its hard to say there was any particularly egregious snub or inclusion for this reason either. A player like Brandon Jennings or Josh Smith had legitimate cases for inclusion, but at the same time Roy Hibbert was the sole representative for a surprising Indiana Pacers team, who deserved to have someone selected regardless of position.
While it wouldn’t necessarily change who makes the actual teams, what it will do is ensure that the starting lineups are more truly representative of who the best players in each conference are. So instead of Andrew Bynum being an All Star starting center last year, you would perhaps have an All Star “front court” of Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin and Kevin Love.
ESPN’s John Hollinger also notes that perhaps the more accurate positional divisions would be to have 1 point guard, 2 “wings” and 2 “bigs”. But at the same time, this could veer over the line towards too much ambiguity (e.g. would LeBron be considered a “wing” or a “big”?). At the same time, I personally wouldn’t necessarily be opposed to going even one step further than that and abolishing any kind of positional restrictions for All Star fan voting. The All Star game is basically a glorified pickup game as it is, and who wouldn’t want to see a squad consisting of Kobe, Durant, Westbrook, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin going up against LeBron, Wade, Melo, Rondo and Derrick Rose?
What do you guys think, is removing the centre position good, bad, or not far enough?