Can't center in on NBA All-Star spot

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Cheers and Jeers,Sports,NBA,Craig Stouffer

There may have been no expectation more absurd for the Wizards in recent seasons than when JaVale McGee landed on last season's NBA All-Star ballot.

Even on nights when he committed trademark knuckleheaded plays, McGee campaigned for votes, and he actually finished fifth in voting for center.

It will take some work to get that high again after the NBA announced changes to the All-Star ballot format. The league eliminated the center position, and instead fans will vote for three frontcourt spots and two guards. Combine forwards and centers on last year's Eastern Conference ballot, and McGee's vote total would have been good enough only for 15th.

The change makes sense for a position on the court that is harder than ever to define. Look no further than this year's Wizards and the job description for Nene.

At the All-Star level, Tim Duncan is the best known power forward who actually plays center. Miami's Chris Bosh also expects to play more center this season, but that is in name only and more of a reflection of a small lineup with LeBron James at power forward.

Based on last year's voting totals, the starters for each conference would have been the same. But the resulting effect this year is that Bosh will compete with Andrew Bynum as much as Amar'e Stoudemire and Kevin Garnett for votes. In fact, the Heat's Big Three could start together for the East; it would be the first trio from the same team since the 1990 Lakers (Magic Johnson, James Worthy, A.C. Green).

- Craig Stouffer

cstouffer@washingtonexaminer.com

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