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NBA All-Star Game voting shows it’s time to change the ballot

Jan 27, 2011, 11:57 PM EDT

2010 NBA All Star Game Getty Images

You should pat yourself on your back. Which come to think of it is pretty hard and can lead to shoulder dislocation, so maybe get a friend to do it for you. But you deserve it.

You NBA fans pretty much nailed it in voting for the NBA All-Star game starters. Usually right after the starters are announced writers and bloggers go on self-righteous rants about how the fans made just terrible, silly decisions. Because the writers always make great calls on MVP and the like.

Except, you really didn’t give us room to do that. Good on you. You were spot on with Derrick Rose over Rajon Rondo and Amar’e Stoudemire over Kevin Garnett in the East. Don’t worry Celtics fans, you’ll have plenty of representatives after the coaches are done voting. Out West, Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul and Kevin Durant are pretty unassailable picks. Again spot on.

We could argue about Carmelo Anthony. Not that he’s not a terrible pick — he’s averaging 23.6 points and 8 rebounds a game and is the best player on a good team. Better picks would have been Pau Gasol (he finished third in the voting) or Dirk Nowitzki, both of whom are key parts of better teams and more efficient scorers. But I can live with Anthony.

But then there is Yao Ming. It’s not him getting in that bothers me, although normally this is the type of pick that inspires writer outrage — the guy has played five games in two seasons. But it’s not like he beat out some other super-deserving center. I know how badly Andrew Bynum wants to be named but he missed a lot of time with injury then didn’t blow everyone’s doors off.

What this really points to is the outdated method for voting for All-Stars in the first place — it’s time for the NBA to fix the ballot.

The game has evolved beyond two guards, two forwards and a center. Call it a positional revolution or a player evolution, but the players do not fit neatly into those boxes anymore. Dirk Nowitzki is a forward who plays like a guard. Garnett, Stoudemire and LeBron are all forwards who play outside any easily defined role. And that’s before someone like Channing Frye is in at center. Players are more versatile and coaches are adapting to that in how they use players.

The All-Star ballot has not evolved. It needs to.

The ballot should be divided so you vote for two backcourt and three frontcourt players in each conference. That way we don’t have to vote Tim Duncan in as a forward when he really plays center. Just vote for the best players and let the coaches figure out how to play them. If you want to divide it one guard, two wings, two frontcourt, I can live with that.

But to pigeonhole today’s players in old-school positional definitions is very square peg/round hole. It’s time for a change. It’s time to join the new century and not use the player definitions of the 1950s.

Come on NBA, China can still vote Yao Ming in, just as a front court guy now.

  1. fouldwimmerlaik - Jan 28, 2011 at 4:36 AM

    Hit it right on the head, Kurt. My sentiments exactly.

  2. eazye76 - Jan 28, 2011 at 8:40 AM

    I agree completely, Duncan has been the perfect example of this for years.

  3. florida727 - Jan 28, 2011 at 9:58 AM

    Excellent suggestion… which means it has no chance of getting implemented. After all, it wasn’t THEIR idea at the NBA offices in NYC. The voting is, and always will be, nothing more than a popularity contest. Which it should be. “All-Star” is a misnomer anyway. The best statistical players will never universally be voted in, and that shouldn’t be the criteria anyway. It’s a fans game and who they want to see should ultimately determine who plays. Love the frontcourt / backcourt idea though. At least it assures the players everyone wants to see won’t end up 3rd or 4th and (potentially) left off the team.

  4. bigtrav425 - Jan 28, 2011 at 10:21 AM

    If you really know the NBA.You know this will NEVER happen.The main reason being the head Nazi aka David Stern…need i say more

  5. silencegooddoer - Jan 28, 2011 at 1:01 PM

    Maybe LeBron should pick the teams??? Just sayin.

  6. zblott - Jan 28, 2011 at 1:35 PM

    Here’s a simple way to fix voting that still puts it in fans’ hands but that will completely end anything resembling another Yao Ming incident:

  7. redbear18 - Jan 29, 2011 at 9:56 AM

    Sounds like a great idea, if not a perfect solution, but good luck trying to implement it, the red tape could take years to sift through.

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