Fans got a couple of answers wrong when selecting starters for the 62nd NBA All-Star Game in Houston on Feb. 17. As usual, centers were the center of attention.
San Antonio's Tim Duncan, not Dwight Howard of the Los Angeles Lakers, should be starting as Western Conference center.
New York's Tyson Chandler should be starting at center for the Eastern Conference, not Boston's Kevin Garnett.
No major complaints other than that, but there nearly was a disaster.
Houston guard Jeremy Lin finished just 45,346 votes behind Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul for the second starting spot at West guard alongside Kobe Bryant.
We're talking about 900,000 votes being cast, so roughly 45,000 votes can happen in a hurry.
For Lin — the first American-born NBA player of Chinese or Taiwanese descent — to have captured a starting role as a West guard thanks to the Asian vote (a la Yao Ming) would have been sheer Linsanity.
By his own admission, Lin is not having an All-Star year. Even if he had the numbers to warrant consideration, Lin still would be nowhere near the ilk of Paul.
Last October, the league agreed to eliminate the center position on the official All-Star Game ballot. The NBA did this because voting would be more in line with the evolution of the game, which has resulted in fewer true post player.
“It makes sense,” said Stu Jackson, the league's vice president of basketball operations, said of the balloting change. “It made sense to our competition committee. Having a center is the only specific position that was singled out on the ballot. It just seemed a little outdated and didn't represent the way our game has evolved. By the same token, it also affords the same opportunity, if you have two good centers in a given year, pick 'em both. They both can be selected, which is impossible right now.”
Fan voting is closed. Now it's up the NBA coaches, who have until 11 a.m. Wednesday to vote for seven conference reserves in order of preference, but they cannot vote for their own players.