The Sacramento Kings and the elimination of the All-Star center

DeMarcus Cousins shoots over Marc Gasol (Photo: Steven Chea)
Yesterday, the NBA announced a change to their All-Star selection process, eliminating the center position from the ballot.  Fans now have the option of choosing two guards and three frontcourt players when they vote for this year’s All-Star teams.

According to a report by David Aldridge of Turner Sports, the NBA decided to make the change following a meeting between its competition committee last month.  Here are NBA Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Stu Jackson’s comments on the matter from the league’s press release:

“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the league office agreed that having the center position as the only specific position singled out on the ballot was outdated and not representative of today’s game or players,” Jackson said. “Our players have become more versatile each season, and this ballot will more accurately reflect that versatility.”

The move by the league doesn’t surprise Sacramento Kings head coach Keith Smart.  He points out that most of today’s centers play a vastly different style compared to their contemporaries of previous eras.

“All the centers now are spacing out on the floor,” Smart told media following Wednesday’s practice session.  “You have a few guys that really play back-to-the-basket, low-post basketball.  Moving it out of the way, I guess, is the indication that position is becoming extinct for the most part.”

What might this mean for DeMarcus Cousins and his chances to make his first All-Star Game?  Likely not much.  With the arrival of Dwight Howard to Los Angeles, it seemed improbable that Cousins would’ve garnered enough votes under the old system to start ahead of the three-time defensive player of the year.

Even with a breakthrough season, Cousins still faces tough competition for a place on this year’s Western Conference roster.  Marc Gasol, Andrew Bogut and Kevin Love are just a few of the top-tier bigs in the west that will challenge the Kings center for an All-Star nod.

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About: Jonathan Santiago

Jonathan Santiago serves Cowbell Kingdom as senior editor specializing in writing, podcasting and video production. He also handles the majority of CK’s day-to-day beat coverage of the Kings.